Kashmir shuts against NIA raids, arrest spree

Kashmir shuts against NIA raids, arrest spree
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Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on Wednesday againstmass arrest of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and activists, the NationalInvestigation Agency raids on residences of top separatist leaders includingMuhammad Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and "attempts to tinker with"Article 35-A.

The two-day call for shutdown (for Wednesday and Thursday)has been given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed AliGeelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Last week, the police swooped on Jamaat-e-Islami leaders andactivists—apart from religious scholars of Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith and some separatistleaders—for unspecified reasons, especially in southern areas of the Valley.

More than 100 leaders and activists of Jamaat were detainedin nocturnal raids that started across Kashmir on Friday. Among separatists,the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Malik was detained and lodgedin police station Kothibagh.

The JRL call evoked a complete response across the Valley.In Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, all commercialestablishments and private institutions remained closed while roads wore adeserted look.

In Downtown, the police imposed restrictions under section144, which bars assembly of more than four people at a time, amid heavydeployment of forces.

A witness said in areas including Mahraj Gunj, Safa Kadal,Khanyar, Nowhatta and Rainawari, police and paramilitary forces were deployedin large numbers to prevent any protests, though no curfew was imposed there.

Another witness said mild clashes were witnessed in Beminaand Bagh-e-Mehtaab areas of Srinagar, where the police fired a few teargascanisters to push the protestors back.

Reports of complete shutdown also came in from southerndistricts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag and also from the northerndistricts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora.

On Tuesday, the NIA sleuths carried out raids at residencesof seven separatist leaders including the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairmanMirwaiz Umar Farooq (at Nigeen), JKLF chief Malik (at Maisuma), Muhammad AshrafSehrai (at Hyderpora), Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani's son NaseemGeelani, Masrat Alam Bhat, Shabir Ahmed Shah and Zafar Akbar Bhat.

The NIA in its statement claimed to have "seizedincriminating material, property details, bank accounts and electronic devices"from the residences of these separatist leaders.

Greater Kashmir