SRINAGAR: The powerful Hurriyat trio in Kashmir were left red-faced on Tuesday after a senior separatist leader accused them of following "a sinister plot" by not issuing strike call on January 21 to commemorate the Gaw Kadal massacre.

In their latest protest calender, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had relaxed the restrictions on January 21, the day when, 27 years ago, more than 50 civilian protesters were shot dead by government forces in Gaw Kadal locality of Srinagar.

The Gaw Kadal massacre is recorded as one of the bloodiest in Kashmir turmoil and the separatist leaders have been, over the years, issuing strike call on the day to commemorate it. However, there was no strike call by separatists on the day this year.

Seeking apology from the Hurriyat trio, the chief of Peoples Political Party which is affiliated with Mirwaiz's moderate Hurriyat, Engineer Hilal Ahmed War, called for complete strike on the day to mark the anniversary.

"If they (Hurriyat trio) have deliberately avoided the strike on January 21, then it seems that they are following a sinister plot. If they have done it mistakenly, then it points out their incompetencies,” Hilal said while addressing a press conference at his Maisuma residence.

He said the massacre at Gaw Kadal gave "new impetus and direction to freedom movement", "We can’t forget the blood spilled of 52 unarmed protestors. It is not something which can be avoided. Our leaders must apologise publicly for ignoring the sacrifices of people who fell to bullets at Gaw Kadal".

"If they (Hurriyat trio) believe that there is no need for calling strike on January 21, then there should be no strike call on February 9 when Muhammad Afzal Guru was hanged, February 11, when JKLF founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat was hanged and also on May 21, when Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was killed," he said.

Following Hilal's press conference, the Hurriyat trio withdrew the relaxation call and also issued a strike call on January 21 when "Gaw Kadal and its adjacent areas would observe a complete shutdown, while on January 25, Handwara and on January 27 Kupwara would witness a complete shutdown", a statement issued by the Hurriyat trio said.

(File Photograph)