A series of protest rallies were held in Kashmir on Friday against the recent killing of civilians by government forces at the sites of gunfights, even as the police imposed stringent curbs in various parts of Srinagar to thwart any pro-freedom protests.
The call for protests was given by the joint resistance leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq against the "fresh spree" of killing of civilians, including two women.
In the past 10 days, at least three civilians, including two women who left behind their two infants, were killed in action by government forces in Kashmir areas, triggering widespread protests and condemnations. The victims included Misra Bano of Handwara, Asif Iqbal of Kupwara and Ruby Jan of Shopian.
MALIK ARRESTED, JKLF STAGES PROTEST
The police on Friday morning arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and shifted him to Srinagar central jail on a judicial remand, a Front spokesman said in a statement.
He said that despite Malik's arrest, scores of Front leaders and activists staged a peaceful protest at Lal Chowk against the "brutal" killing of civilians, including two women.
"JKLF leaders that include Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Muhammad Yasin Butt, Muhammad Sideeq Shah, Bashir Kashmiri, Zahoor Ahmad Butt, Ashraf-bin-Salam, professor Javed, Ghulam Muhammad Dar, Imtiyaz Ahmad and others, along with people from many walks of life in large numbers, participated in the post-Friday prayer protest," the spokesman said.
The protestors were holding placards displaying photographs of civilians killed recently. Amid pro-freedom slogans, the protesters marched towards Budshah Chowk and staged a peaceful sit-in there.
Addressing the protestors, Kalwal said: "Kashmiris will never tolerate killing spree, atrocities and will keep protesting against these undemocratic and inhuman acts."
HURRIYAT (M) PROTESTS
A Hurriyat Conference (M) spokesman said that its leaders and workers staged a protest march at Jinab Sahab (RA) Soura against the recent civilian killings which includes the "brutal killing of two lactating mothers in forces' firing."
"The protest was led by Hurriyat's youth wing president Mushtaq Sofi and others who participated in it include Peer Ghulam Nabi, advocate Yasir Dalal, Sahil Ahmed, Muhammad Hayat, Muhammad Yosuf Bhat, Muhammad Sidiq Hazar, Muhammad Yousuf Roshangar and others," the spokesman said.
In a statement here, Mirwaiz, who continues to remain under house arrest, said that the government of India "in total defiance and disregard for basic human principles and rights of Kashmiris, has undertaken the genocide of Kashmiris through thousands of its forces."
Condemning the use of force to foil protests called by the JRL against "unabated" killing of civilians, use of pellet guns and other acts of repression, the Mirwaiz said: "Those flaunting their democratic credentials world over are scared of getting exposed by the public anger and resentment during protests against their brutalities."
He urged the heads of human rights bodies across the world to build pressure on New Delhi to stop rights violations in Kashmir.
HURRIYAT (G) PROTESTS
Leaders and workers of Hurriyat Conference (G) took out a protest rally at Hyderpora and some other areas of Kashmir.
"Hurriyat leaders and activists including Hakim Abdur Rashid, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Bashir Ahmad Qureshi, Muhammad Rafiq Owasi, Meraj-u-Din Rabbani, Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi, Ishfaq Ahmad Khan, Ramiz Raja, Sajad Ahmad Pala and Sajad Ahmad Sofi staged protests against civilian killings at various places and addressed several public gatherings," a Hurriyat (G) spokesman said in a statement.
He ridiculed the authorities for imposing restrictions, "unleashing reign of terror against innocent civilians and barring people from offering Friday congregational prayers."
"Such actions have simply exposed the tall claims about their rhetoric regarding democracy and freedom of expression," the spokesman said, adding: "We strongly condemn the state authorities for imposing restrictions and barring people from offering Friday prayers."
The spokesman strongly condemned the continuous detention of Umar Adil Dar, Moulana Mudasir Nadvi and Abdul Ahad.
"Since last week, they are in police custody. Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Molvi Bashir Ahmad Irfani, Muhammad Yasin Ataie, Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, Bashir Ahmad Bhat and Muhammad Yusuf Bhat have been placed under house detention," he said. "These tactics are based on mere political vendetta and can't muzzle or break the resolve of pro-freedom leadership."
Hailing the spirit and dedication of the people, the spokesman said: "Even in difficult situations, the people remained committed and never gave up their commitment with the movement. We are sure that we will achieve our cherished goal."
The police imposed strict restrictions in majority of Downtown Srinagar areas including Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Nowhatta and Khanyar to foil any possible protests.
Partial curbs also remained in place in Maisuma and Kralkhud areas.
The police detained Awami Itehad Party (AIP) legislator Er Abdur Rashid after he tried to lead a protest march in Kupwara against civilian killings.
"Rashid was taken into custody in Handwara while he was leading a protest march after Friday prayers against the recent civilian killings in Kashmir," a party spokesman said.