The state administration today imposed restrictions to scuttle the protest rally at LalChowk here which was called jointly by Hurriyat Conference (G), JKLF and Hurriyat Conference (M). The separatist groups castigated the authorities for barring them from carrying peaceful political activities.
However, a JKLF spokesman said, "despite all restrictive measures by the government, a peaceful sit-in protest was held today at Kokerbazar in the vicinity of LalChowk in which people in large numbers participated."
"The protest rally started from Masjid Hamza, Kokerbazar today. The participants of the silent protest had covered their mouths with black cloth and were holding placards against the conspiratorial designs like Pandit townships, Sainik colonies, New Industrial Policy and oppression unleashed against Jammu Muslims," the spokesman said, adding that as the protesters were marching towards LalChowk, police that had already laid siege around Lalchowk by placing barricades, stopped them.
However, the spokesman said, the protesters staged the sit-in on the road at Kokerbazaar.
"Various leaders of JKLF, APHC (G) and APHC (M) including Advocate Bashir Ahmad Butt, Ghulam Muhammad Khan Sopori, GhulamNabiZaki, etc., participated in the protest.
"Senior JKLF leaders including secretary general GhulamRasool Dar Edhi, vice chairman MushtaqAjmal, zonal president Noor Muhammad Kalwal, zonal vice president Muhammad YaseenBhat, zonal vice president Muhammad Sideeq Shah, zonal general secretary Sheikh Abdul Rashid, Zahoor Ahmad Butt, Sheikh Khalid Mubarik, zonal organizer Bashir Kashmiri, GhulamQadirHaider, Farooq Ahmad Dar, Prof Javed, Muhammad Amin Magloo, zonal press incharge Ashraf Bin Salam, district presidents Javed Ahmed Butt, Abdul Rashid Maglu, Syed NisarJeelani, Gulzar Ahmed Pahelwan, Abdul Sattar, Showkat Ahmed Dar and other members participated in the rally.
"Various senior leaders from both factions of APHC including Mukhtar Ahmad Sofi, Advocate Muhammad ShafiReshi, Engineer Farooq Ahmad Khan, MerajuddinRabbani, Mushtaq Ahmad Sofi, Farooq Ahmed Sodagar, Abdul AhadParah, Muhammad YousufNaqash, Bashir Andrabi, Ghulam Muhammad Nago, Syed ImtiazHaider and Yasmeen Raja also participated in today's united programme," the spokesman said.
On the occasion, Advocate Bashir Ahmad Butt said, "Today's exemplary peaceful and united protest sit-in has once again proved that it is the rulers and their police that ruin the peace of Jammu Kashmir. We had decided to hold a peaceful silent protest but police using brute force tried to provoke us for violence."
He said that through the protest, Kashmiris with one voice have given a message to all that Kashmiris will never accept Israeli type separate townships for Pandits, Sainik colonies, and New Industrial Policy, sole aim of which is to change demography of Jammu Kashmir and oppress Jammu Muslims.
He also condemned the spree of arrests including the arrest of Muhammad Yasin Malik and house arrest of Syed Ali Geelnai and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is under house arrest since Tuesday evening, said the coalition government under its anti-Kashmir policies had done all "to scuttle the peaceful protest programmes called by the united resistance leadership."
Slamming the use of force and placing of Hurriyat (M) leadership and other separatist leaders under house arrest and detention, Mirwaiz said, "The state government is adopting dictatorial policies and using excessive force for crushing the resistance leadership."
Stressing that every voice being raised to highlight the sufferings of the people was being crushed and the separatist leadership targeted for protesting "to safeguard the interests of the people against these anti-Kashmir policies", he said arrests and house arrests of the leadership had now become a routine and the character of the government.
The Mirwaiz stated that Kashmir was not a law and order problem, and the ground realities could not be changed by using 'politics of oppression and suppression.'
Terming the "mysterious killing" of a Bemina youth, Tanvir Sultan as unfortunate, he said, as per the statements of his family members, the youth was a psychiatric patient.
He called for an impartial probe into Sultan's killing, saying "using laws to kill innocent people should be a matter of concern for the international human rights bodies and it is the moral responsibility of them to play a role in stopping such incidents in Kashmir."
Condemning the house arrest of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam and Javaid Ahmad Mir and police raids on Engineer Hilal War's house and APHC Headquarters at Rajbagh, a spokesman of Hurriyat (M) said "by adopting such measures, the government cannot force the separatist leadership to give up on their stand."
In the meantime, JKLF chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested in a nocturnal raid by police.
"Police also arrested JKLF deputy chief organizer Sirajuddin Mir, district presidents Muhammad IshaaqGanaie and Bashir Ahmad Boya. The residences of many JKLF leaders including that of Muhammad Yasin Butt, Javed Ahmad Butt, Gulzar Ahmad Pahalwan, MolviReyaz and Mushtaq Ahmad were raided. JKLF vice chairman Showkat Ahmad Bakhshi still remains in central jail Srinagar," the JKLF spokesman said in a statement today.
JKLF has also paid rich tributes to Tanvir Sultan of Bemina. Demanding an impartial international probe into his killing, Advocate Bashir Ahmad Butt said, "This is the only way through which one can reach to truth in this matter." Butt expressed solidarity with the bereaved family and prayed for his heavenly abode.