Kashmir remembers Maqbool Bhat on 31st anniversary

Kashmir remembers Maqbool Bhat on 31st anniversary

Clashes erupted in Maisuma here after activists of JKLF and local residents tried to take out a rally to mark Bhat’s anniversary.

Parts of Srinagar were Wednesday placed under curfew as Kashmir observed complete shutdown on 31st martyrdom anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat who was hanged and buried in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on this day in 1984.

Clashes rocked several parts of the city during the day, reports said.

The government imposed curfew in areas falling under six police stations of Rsinagar including Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, MR Gunj, SafaKadal and Maisuma. Police and paramilitary forces in curfew-bound areas blocked all roads with razor wire to stop movement of people, witnesses said.  

Clashes erupted in Maisuma here after activists of JKLF and local residents tried to take out a rally to mark Bhat’s anniversary.  

Witnesses said clashes broke out when police tried to stop the procession led by JKLF leaders. “Police burst tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters and detained several of them,” they said.

In Civil Lines, the authorities had deployed huge number of forces to thwart protest demonstrations.

In other parts of Kashmir, reports said, shops and business establishments remained closed while traffic was off the roads. The attendance in banks, post offices and government departments was thin, they said.

Skeletal private transport and three-wheelers however plied in uptown Srinagar while inter-district public transport was also affected.

Complete shutdown was also observed in Budgam and Ganderbal districts of south Kashmir. 

Reports of complete shutdown were received from Kupwara, the native district of JKLF founder Bhat. All shops, business establishments, government and private offices remained closed while passenger and private traffic was off the roads in the district.

Reports said large contingents of paramilitary CRPF men and police were deployed in strength in entire Kupwara.

A report said special prayers were offered in Jamia Masjid Trehgam while a pro-freedom demonstration was held in the area to mark MaqboolBhat’s anniversary.  Reports said hundreds of people including Bhat’s relatives took to streets and marched towards TrehgamChowk, demanding his mortal remains.

Clashes broke out in Papchan area of Bandipora after youths hurled stones on a CRPF bunker in the locality. “The CRPF men provoked people, triggering clashes,” locals said.

Reports of complete shutdown were received from Baramulla, Sopore and Handwara towns of north Kashmir. 

Amid complete shutdown, clashes erupted in Khudwani area of Kaimoh in Kulgam district, reports said, with groups of youth hitting the streets in protest.

Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama districts of south Kashmir also observed a complete shutdown.

JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik continued to remain under detention in Central Jail Srinagar while Hurriyat Conference (G) leaders including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and AyazAkber, Hurriyat (JK) leaders Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Shabir Ahmad Shah, were also confined to their houses.

JKLF CONDEMNS:

A JKLF spokesman said police and paramilitary forces “used curfew, restrictions and other oppressive means to stop its rally that was scheduled to reach the UN office at Sonwar.”

“JKLF wanted to handover a memorandum asking UN to persuade India to handover the mortal remains of Muhammad MaqboolBhat and Afzal Guru to Kashmiris. Even media and press people were not allowed to move towards the venue of the rally. We strongly condemn such oppressive measures,” the spokesman said.  (With ShahidRafiq in Kupwara)