After disallowed by government from holding a meeting and addressing media, resistance leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik on Thursday asked people to boycott the upcoming by-elections to two parliamentary seats in Kashmir.
Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik managed to reach Geelani's Hyderpora residence at 11:30 a.m. to hold a meeting to discuss various issues including strategy for the upcoming parliamentary elections for Srinagar and Anantnag (Islamabad) seats scheduled next month. The three leaders were also scheduled to address a joint press conference.
However, the duo was stopped by a huge contingent of police at the main gate of the residence. After some time, Geelani came out and the three leaders marched towards the main road as they were disallowed from holding a press conference, witnesses said.
Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik walked over a roll of concertina wire placed outside Geelani's residence and marched amid election boycott slogans upto the main road, where police had placed its vehicles to detain all three leaders. Witnesses said that as the three leaders reached closer to main road, policemen who were present in large numbers whisked away the trio and shifted them to police station Humhama as Hurriyat supporters continued to raise slogans in favour of election boycott.
Other pro-freedom leaders present on the occasion including Muhammad Ahsraf Sehrai, Mehraj-u-Din Kalwal, Ayaz Akbar and Mushtaq Sofi continued to raise slogans. Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik were later released at 5 p.m.
Talking to Greater Kashmir after his release, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz said it is so "ridiculous and senseless" to resort to brute force to foil a simple meeting of pro-freedom leadership. "The step exposes brittleness of the ruling regime and the democratic credentials that even a meeting of pro-freedom leaders becomes a threat to its existence," Mirwaiz said. "Police rule in the State is reality of Kashmir. It is through police that sham democracy and elections are thrust on people."
In a joint statement, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik asked people to boycott upcoming parliamentary polls saying it provides New Delhi an opportunity to mislead the world community. While calling for election boycott, the trio said that amid 10 lakh forces personnel, the "election drama has lost relevance and credibility." Lashing out at the State authorities, the joint resistance leaders said that the police action and restrictions on media interaction proves that the upcoming elections are a mere drama. "It is not a democratic process but better to say a drama being enacted with the help of armed forces," the leaders said. Challenging the government, the leaders said that they should be allowed to meet people and then the PDP-BJP dispensation would see who will vote.
"These elections are being enacted to mislead international community and New Delhi is desperate to justify its occupation. As such these shame elections are being enacted," the joint statement said. "Delhi and its henchmen in state portray these elections as a people's consent and acceptance of Indian hegemony in state," he said. Asking people to safeguard sacrifices, the leadership urged people to stay away from the "election drama."
Ridiculing authorities in Delhi for their "shameful tactics", the leadership said that through elections they have always installed their "blue-eyed people to mislead world opinion."
"These enacted dramas won't alter the status of J&K and Kashmir. We always opposed these elections as authorities, while manipulating the results, try to dilute the basic status of Kashmir issue," the joint statement reads.
The statement while referring to recent people's uprising in 2016, said that struggle is in its crucial stage and people through their determination, commitment and resentment have conveyed a strong message to world community.
"We feel our duty to apprise our people about the deceitful political game of authorities and outcome of this election drama," the statement said.
A JKLF spokesman in a statement issued here said that stopping leaders from a simple meeting is glaring example of "sham democracy" being practiced by Delhi in J&K. "We strongly condemn the detention of resistance leaders," he said.