Clampdown In Srinagar Ahead Of PM's Visit

SRINAGAR: Police swung into action on Monday and detained scores of separatist and civil society activists in order to prevent protests during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Tuesday visit to Kashmir.

A spokesman of Hardline Hurriyat faction alleged that six senior separatist workers in south and north Kashmir have been called to police stations on Monday. Besides, a number of former militants' have been put under constant surveillance. "The police are creating terror in the state by rampant arrest spree of political activists," said Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar.

Describing the authorities' move to clampdown on separatists as "bafflement and frustration," Geelani said, "Arresting the party workers on the Prime Minister's proposed visit is unconstitutional and unjustified." He alleged that "restrictions on movement of pedestrians have added to miseries and agonies".

Sources said the authorities are planning to keep a close eye on the movement of senior separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik - who have all called for a shutdown to mark protest against PM's visit.

The government has decided to even take mainstream leaders to task to avoid any law and order problem during the PM's visit, scheduled for June 25. Independent MLA and chief of the recently-formed mainstream political party Awami Ittihaad Party (AIP) Engineer Rashid has been placed under house arrest.

Medical Employees' Joint Action Forum chairman Dr Nisar-ul-Hasan, who had asked doctors and paramedics across the Valley to observe June 25 as 'black day' to protest against the spurious drug scam, has also been arrested.

A spokesperson for the Doctors Association Of Kashmir (DAK) Dr Mir Mushtaq told Kashmir Observer that Hassan was summoned to police station Shaheed Gunj but was detained there.

Dr Hassan had called upon doctors to wear black arm bands on Tuesday as a mark of protest in order to draw Prime Minister’s attention  towards drug scam.

“If they don’t allow us even to tie black badges as mark of protest then what type of protest would they allow in their democracy”, Dr Mushtaq questioned.

He demanded release of Hassan and said their protests would intensify if govt failed to set him free.

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