Govt Cracks Down On MMM Ahead of New Calendar

SRINAGAR: The state government seemed to be gunning for the Muttahida Majlis-e-Mushawarat (MMM) with a fresh round of arrests among its leadership on Saturday just as it relaxed the grip of curfew on the valley after five days.

The arrests come on the eve of the new protest calendar expected to be issued by the majlis on Sunday.

 Formed by separatist groups, including the two Hurriyat factions, to spearhead a campaign for the return of the body of executed Muhammad Afzal Guru, the MMM has been virtually crippled by the continuing crackdown which top police officers said would not slacken.

A series of raids have been conducted over the past forty-eight hours at various places in the valley to nab separatist leaders who are a part of the MMM, even as the chairmen of both factions of the Hurriyat Conference are under house arrest since their return from Delhi.

The Jama’at-e-Islami spokesman, advocate Zahid Ali, was taken into custody from his Pulwama residence on Friday night and has been lodged in the town police station, sources said.

Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief, Aasiya Andrabi, who underwent surgery recently, has been placed under detention at the SKIMS where she is admitted in the Intensive Care Unit, her party said.

Another party leader, Fahmida Sofi, was arrested when she went to call on Andrabi at hospital, it said.

Several other separatist leaders, including Muhammad Yousuf Naqqash, Ghulam Nabi and Ghulam Muhammad Nagoo too have been detained.

Raids were conducted at the homes of JKLF deputy chairman, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, leader Abdul Ahad Parra.

The Hurriyat (G) general secretary, Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi, Muhammad Shaban Sheikh, and Nazir Ahmad Ahangar too have been detained.

Earlier, soon after Guru’s execution DFP chief Shabir Ahmad Shah, National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat general secretary Muhammad Ashraf Sahrai, Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar, JKLF leader Shaukat Ahmad Bakhshi, and several other were lodged in the Central Jail here, where they continue to be held.

According to reports, most of those arrested since yesterday too have been taken to the Central Jail.

According to a Hurriyat statement, Agha Syed Hassan and Mukhtar Ahmad Waza too continue to be in police custody.  

Meanwhile, a senior police officer said that the crackdown on the separatist leaders would continue in the coming days.

“We can’t allow a free hand to those trying to disturb peace”, he said, wishing not to be named.

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