Police Curbs On Geelani Sparks Protests

ANANTNAG: Police on Friday foiled Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s plan to address a public gathering in Islamabad town in Anantnag district by detaining him near his Srinagar residence.

”As Geelani tried to leave for south Kashmir, he was detained by a large posse of police who were stationed outside his residence at Hyderpora,” a Hurriyat spokesperson said.

Hurriyat (G) chairman along with his associates was immediately shifted to Humhama police station and lodged there for the day. 

Geelani had announced to offer Friday prayers in Anantnag and was scheduled to address a public gathering thereafter the prayers.

The spokesperson said that dozens of Hurriyat leaders were also detained along with Geelani.

The restriction put on Geelani and his associates sparked spontaneous and violent protests in the principal South Kashmir town.

Clashes were reported from Lal Chowk area of Anantnag where Geelani was scheduled to address the rally.

At least four people were injured in in violent protests triggered by the detention of Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman.

Scores of people tried to take out a procession but were stopped by the riot police and CRPF. 

This soon turned the town into a warzone. Youth clashed with government forces at Lal Chowk, Reshi Bazar, Jangal Mandi, General bus stand Mehndi Kadal and other localities. 

Raising pro-freedom slogans and in support of Geelani, the protesters, mainly young boys threw stones on the CRPF and policemen that were deployed in advance.

Forces burst  teargas canisters but undeterred agitated youth gave them a tough time, regrouping at intervals and launching counter attacks. 

“The outbreak of clashes prompted the traders to down their shutters and run towards the safer places. Even the transport was hit due to the clashes,” witnesses said.

According to witnesses, at least four people were injured in the clashes that continued till late evening.

Earlier in the day, Hurriyat Conference chairman and over a dozen of his associates were detained when they tried to break police cordon and march towards Anantnag town. The detainees including Syed Ali Geelani, Raja Me’raj-ud-din, Mohammad Yousuf Mujahid, Hakeem Abdul Rasheed, Mohammad Yousuf Naqash, Ghulam Mohammad Khan Sopori, Bashir Ahmad Andrabi, Mohammad Ashraf Laya, Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, Shakir Ahmad Mir, Syed Zahoor-ul-haq Geelani, Mushtaq Ahmad Shaikh, Umar Adil Dar, Mukhtar Ahmad Laway, Mohammad Ramzan Khan, Sajad Ahmad Sofi, Abdul Rasheed Lone and Javaid Ahmad Gazi were shifted to nearby Humhama police station.

While terming the government actions as sheer hooliganism and interference in the religious affairs, Hurriyat Conference said that the dubious statement of the state police chief about the imprisonment of Geelani Sahab has been exposed today

“Today’s government action has proved that the police department is just to spread and promote lies and this institution has no credibility,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said in a statement.

The amalgam, Akbar said had announced the rally in Anantnag to test the reality of DGP’s statement in which he said Geelai was a free man and he can offer prayers anywhere

“We were of the view that to protect and save the honour of the police chief’s statement, the government will release Geelani Sahab for this day and will lift the police cordon around his residence,” Akbar said, adding “Contrary to that, extra ordinary deployment of forces was made in and around Hyderpora. Geelani Sahab’s office and house was practically sealed and no one allowed meeting him,”

 Hurriyat Spokesman said that before coming to power, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed used to talk on moral high ground and his daughter Mehbooba Mufti used to criticize Omer Abdullah for placing Geelani Sahab under continuous house imprisonment and stopping him from offering Friday prayers.

“But as soon as Mufti Sayeed came to power, his political slogans and ideology got badly exposed and he proved to be worst then his predecessor,” he said.

Hurriyat Conference urged the Amnesty International and other human rights organizations to take serious notice of the unjust house detention process of the Kashmiri pro-freedom leader and use their influence in ending his illegal and undemocratic imprisonment. 

Geelani continues to be under arrest since his arrival from New Delhi on April 15 this year barring on two occasions – first, when he was allowed to go to Tral to address a rally on May 1 and then on June 5 when he visited the Passport Office here for filing his passport application.

Meanwhile in Srinagar a group of youth pelted stones at security personnel who retaliated using tear smoke shells.

One person has been injured, the officials said, adding that the clashes were going on in Nowhatta when reports last came in.

The youth started pelting stones at the security forces stationed there the moment they emerged from the Grand Mosque, the officials said.

Security forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the youth, they said adding there was no immediate report of any causality. 

Mother, baby narrowly escapes police teargas shell 

Srinagar: A nursing mother and her 10-days old baby had a “miraculous escape” after a stray teargas shell fired by police went inside a residential house in Nowhatta area of the old city this afternoon.

Ghulam Qadir Khan of Syed Pora Nowhatta said the Govt forces fired numerous teargas shells to disperse the protesters. However, he alleged, that one of the teargas shells landed inside the room of his house where his daughter and her 10-day old baby were resting. 

“The room got filled with teargas smoke and they faced tremendous problems,” he said, adding, “my daughter and her baby miraculously escaped unhurt?”

Khan said that following the incident, he shifted the mother and the baby to another locality.  

When contacted, the Superintendent of Police, north City, Shafqat Hussain refused to comment over the issue. Instead, he said: “Come to my office, I will provide you details.” (GNS)

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