Kashmir remembers Mirwaiz Farooq, A G Lone on their anniversaries

Kashmir observed a shutdown on Tuesday to mark the anniversaries of Mirwaiz Moulana Muhammad Farooq, Abdul Gani Lone and victims of Hawal massacre. The government had imposed curbs to prevent congregational gathering at the martyrs’ graveyard, Eidgah.

Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who was supposed to lead a rally from Jamia Masjid Srinagar to the martyrs’ graveyard, was placed under house detention at his Nigeen residence since Monday evening.  

Several other leaders, including senior Hurriyat (M) leader Peoples Political Party (PPP) chairman Er Hilal Ahmed War, were also placed under house arrest.

The call for shutdown was given by the separatist leadership and the Awami Action Committee (AAC).

Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was killed on 21 May, 1990, while Khawaja Abdul Gani Lone was killed on 21 May, 2002, by unidentified gunmen at Eidgah.

In 2009, the government of the time had allowed Mirwaiz Umar to lead a procession to Eidgah. Since then, all successive regimes barred congregational gathering at Eidgah on 21 May.

The shutdown call disrupted the normal life as all the commercial establishments, educational institutions, and private institutions remained closed for the day in Srinagar.

In Srinagar, the administration had ordered closure of all schools and colleges as a “precautionary measure”, while stringent curbs were put in place in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of five police stations in Downtown—Nowhatta, Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Khanyar and Maharaj Gunj.

Police and paramilitary CRPF wearing riot gear had been deployed in these areas to prevent protest rallies.

“At many places barbed wires were also placed on roads to prevent movement of people,” a witness said.

He said all roads leading to Eidgah had been sealed by security forces. 

Reports from southern districts Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag and Kulgam suggested the strike call evoked a good response though inter-district transport wasn’t affected much. Shutdown was also witnessed in northern districts of Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora.