Srinagar: The police on Wednesday foiled an attempt by key separatist leaders to hold a review meeting here in view of calls from sections of people to ease further their shutdown calendar which they have been issuing on weekly basis ever since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
The meeting had been planned by ‘Joint Resistance Leadership’ at Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s residence at Hyderpora here but while the octogenarian separatist leader continued to remain under house arrest, JKLF’s Muhammad Yasin Malik was turned back by the police when he arrived there. Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric and chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also part of the alliance was not even allowed to leave his besieged residence at Nigeen here. The43-year-old cleric and politician was released from jail last week after 59 days but soon placed under house arrest.
Both Mr. Geelani and the Mirwaiz were urged to reconsider the alliance’s shutdown and protest agenda also by a five-member civil society delegation led by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Union Finance Minister, Yashwant Sinha, which met them during its visit here recently. The separatist leaders had, as was said by the Mirwaiz at a press conference here, told the delegation that they could do that only if and when allowed to hold a joint meeting to discuss the issues.
In the evening, the alliance issued fresh ‘protest calendar’ extending the shutdown call for another week with only 4 pm to 7 am relaxation on four days-Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday. It also asked the people to hold protest rallies across the Valley throughout the week.
Meanwhile, intense clashes erupted between protesters and security forces in Srinagar’s Anchar, Soura, 90-feet Road and some other areas after the latter allegedly thrashed residents and damaged their properties during a crackdown in Anchar area to arrest the youth wanted by police for their alleged involvement in stone-throwing incidents.
Witnesses and hospital sources said that four people including a 65-year-old man suffered injuries in clashes. Police said that 35 policemen and other security personnel including Superintendent of Police (Hazratbal range) were also injured in these clashes.
Police also said clashes and stone-throwing incidents were reported also from five other areas of the Valley including at Dachoo, Rabben, Nagbal and Sugan in southern Shopian district and in Tarzoo, Sopore area of Baramulla district. It said that while dealing with the law and order situation, a deputy superintend of police was injured in Sopore.
Opposition National Conference (NC) expressed shock and disappointment over “ruthless assault” on civilians in Anchar, Soura and said the police action was reprehensible and indicated the enormous disconnect between the government and the simmering ground situation in the Valley. It added that such acts would continue to worsen the situation and prove counterproductive. “This is extremely unfortunately and utterly condemnable. Our hearts go out to those civilians who were at the receiving end of the brutal onslaught. This is another failure by the political leadership of this government. The wave on indiscriminate arrests is yet again fueling the anger on the ground and such incidents reflect that the government’s tyrannical approach and belies their rhetoric”, said Tanvir Sadiq, political secretary to NC working president and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah.
Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric and separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the use of “violence and excessive force” during the crackdown in Anchar, Soura which, he said, compelled the people to take to streets in protest. Terming the “blinding” of two girl students in pellet firing by security forces at Rohama in Pulwama district earlier he said it was worst example of state terrorism. “Such barbarism belies the governments concern for the students of the Valley,” he said....