Kulgam ‘Chalo’ Foiled

SRINAGAR: Authorities on Wednesday blocked march towards Kulgam district in South Kashmir by imposing strict restrictions and caging pro-freedom leaders and activists.

Following death of four militants and two civilians during an encounter with forces in Frisal village of Kulgam on last Sunday, the joint resistance leadership, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, asked people to march towards the district headquarter in solidarity with the people.

Official sources said that all roads leading to Kulgam were sealed and nobody was allowed to go inside the main town.

They said that restrictions under Section 144 of CrPC were imposed and people were directed to remain indoors.

Over 20 civilians were injured in clashes with forces personnel in Frisal alongside the encounter of whom majority were hit by bullets.

A police spokesperson today, however, said that the situation throughout the Kashmir valley remained “peaceful and under control”. “There was no report of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley,” the spokesperson said.

Reports coming from South Kashmir said that all entry routes towards Kulgam were sealed off with concertina wires and heavy armed vehicles were stationed at major check points while as curfew-like situation was imposed in the district. Extra security arrangements were made in other parts of South Kashmir districts.

A police official from Pulwama district told the Kashmir Observer, “barring few incidents of stone pelting, the situation was normal in the district.”

Station House officer Kulgam, Irshad Ahmad, said, “there was no incident of stone pelting in the area, everything remained normal.”

However, Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani said that despite all curbs, impediments and restrictions, a “high-level deputation” comprising of Haji Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Farooq Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Ashraf Laya, Bilal Sidiqee, Mohammad Yasin Attaie, Ab Rashid Lone, Mohammad Ramzan Khan, Kh Firdouse, Mohammad Yousuf Mir (Freedom Party), Zaheer Abbas and Sajad Lone reached Kulgam and paid their tributes to “martyrs” and expressed solidarity with bereaved families.

“Despite curfew like restrictions, people assembled in Kulgam and Hurriyat (Conference) leaders amidst pro-freedom slogans addressed these gatherings,” a statement issued by the Hurriyat Conference amalgam said.

“They (martyrs) are presenting cherished sacrifices for a sacred cause and the martyrs put responsibility on our shoulders to carry their mission till its logical end,” the Hurriyat Conference (G) leaders told the gatherings. “We are duty bound to remain aloof from those activities’ that may harm the pious mission.”

“They (martyrs) are our heroes, and large number people attending their funerals stand testimony that our mission is peaceful and it has nothing to do with terrorism or extremism,” they added.

“The commitment of martyrs and sacrifices vindicates our claim that their every activity is pro-movement and their actions serve the aspirations of people,” they further said.

Meanwhile, reports came a complete shutdown was observed as the shops were shut and no transport movement was seen on the roads in Kulgam. However, there was an impact of ‘Kulgam Chalo’ in rest of Valley as traffic and business remained thin.

Situation turned ugly in Pulwama when armed forces resorted to aerial firing to disperse agitated protesters who marched towards police station and pelted stones on men in uniform.

Witnesses added that during the massive clashes between the protesters and the forces in Pulwama, several persons were injured.

Locals alleged that police apprehended three students while they were on way towards Coaching Institute.

Reports said that due to clashes, shopkeepers downed their shutters while transport disappeared from Pulwama roads.

Locals alleged that CRPF smashed the windshields of dozens of parked vehicles. “CRPF went on rampage in Murran Chowk, Rajpora Chowk, Dangarpora and Pricho areas and damaged the parked vehicles and motor-cycles,” said an eyewitness.

Reports said that Bijbehara, Kokernag and Pahalgam town also witnessed partial shutdown. Stone-pelting incidents were reported from Gorivan and Arwani Chowk on Srinagar Jammu Highway in Bijbehara.

In Srinagar, a procession was taken out from historical Jamia Masjid in which hundreds of people participated.

Amid pro-freedom slogans, when protesters reached near Naqashbandh Sahib Shrine, police stopped them and disallowed them to move ahead. Reports said that protesters dissipated peacefully.

Meanwhile, independent legislator, Er Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, today said that the deceased militants who died in Handwara encounter were buried at a “remote place” in Langate.

He termed “it as an act of frustration”.

“Every Kashmiri wants the circus of death and destruction to end and we firmly believe that no mother whosoever she may be should receive the coffins of her beloved one. While mothers of militants do deserve the condolences, the killing of Army Jawans gives equal pain to their mothers. Once someone gets killed, it hardly makes him a difference where he is buried, but the way police army and civil administration have started a new practice of burying unknown militants in Jungles and remote areas, even without performing proper rituals, it is condemnable and must stop,” he said.

The MLA said that by burying these unknown militants outside habitations, “one can easily judge that New Delhi apprehends huge protests after every killing, irrespective of the fact whether militants killed is a local or having unknown identity”.

“The act of burying these unknown militants at vulnerable places is a move to avoid the protests and the public anger but rather doing so New Delhi must understand that there is no alternative but to resolve J&K dispute by giving Kashmiris Right to Self Determination,” he demanded.

Pro-Freedom Leaders Caged, Activists Jailed

No End To Geelani and Sehrai’s House Arrest

SRINAGAR: Almost all the Hurriyat Conference leaders were either put under house arrest or were jailed to foil “Kulgam Chalo” march by the authorities.

While Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani remains under continuous house detention, police detained Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in his Nigeen residence on Tuesday morning to prevent him from marching towards Kulgam. JKLF chief was arrested from his Maisuma residence.

Speaking to the Kashmir Observer, Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar, said, “the government has arrested dozens of its activists since past few days.”

He said that the Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani, his deputy Muhammad Ashraf Khan alias Sehrai and Hurriyat Conference (G) General Secretary, Shabir Shah, continue to remain under house detention at their respective residences.

“Since summer uprising of 2016, our 200 activists were slapped under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) and were lodged in different jails in Jammu and Kashmir,” Akbar said.

Notably, Geelani continues to remain under house detention at his Hyderpora residence since 2010 while as Sehrai has not been released from detention after Hizbul Mujahideen Commander, Burhan Wani, was killed by forces on July 08, 2016.

Sehrai was first detained at JKP’s Humhama post and later he was shifted to his Bhagat residence where he has been placed under house detention.

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