Kashmir shuts to remember Maqbool

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Srinagar: Amid restrictions, Kashmir Valley Thursday observed a complete shutdown to commemorate 32nd hanging anniversary of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat who was hanged on 11 February 1984 and his body was buried inside Tihar Jail.

To thwart possible protests authorities had imposed restrictions in the areas falling under five police stations of Old Srinagar city, viz: Khanyar, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Nowhatta and Khanyar while restrictions remained in vogue in Maisuma area of uptown as well. Restrictions were also imposed the movement of people in and around the native place of slain leader Thregam.

All the shops and business establishments remained shut while transport was off the roads. The government offices and banks recorded low attendance.However, fewer public and private plied in uptown areas of the City. 

Amid rains and chill, large contingent of police and CRPF personnel had been deployed to thwart any kind of protests.

Maqbool Bhat, a resident of frontier district Kupwara, was hanged and buried by government of India on February 11, 1984, in Tihar jail of New Delhi. The call for shutdown was given by all leading pro-freedom leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Hundreds of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personal in riot gear and armed with assault rifles were deployed across Valley. According to the witnesses, the forces imposed curbs in the Old City to contain protests. “They had erected concertina wires and armoured vehicles were parked at various junctions and bridges of the Old City,” they said. The police had also deployed its men in volatile Maisuma and Gaw Kadal localities of the City.

 A peaceful pro-freedom protest was held at Trehgam, the native village of Maqbool Bhat. Hundreds of people participated in the protest that was led by the brother of the slain leader Zahoor Ahmed Bhat and senior separatist leader Ghulam Nabi Sumji. The protesters carrying placards and banners demanded return of mortal remains of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat.

Reports of shutdown were received from all the districts of valley including Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla.

According to a police official, the situation remained peaceful across Kashmir. “A protest march was taken out in Thregam elsewhere in Valley the day passed off peacefully,” he said.

Pertinently, authorities have detained almost all the leaders of the separatist organization either in their houses or in different police stations.

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