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Governor's Rule in Jammu and Kashmir: Police detain separatist leaders; Syed Geelani calls it 'State vandalism'

Editor's note: With Jammu and Kashmir under Governor's Rule for the eighth time, Firstpost will run a series of reported pieces, analytical articles and commentary to track the progress of events.

In a departure from the policy of the coalition government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of inviting Hurriyat leaders for talks with the Government of India, under the Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, the police has detained all separatist leaders, including activists from the lower rung.

Hurriyat leader Syed Geelani. AFP.

Hurriyat leader Syed Geelani. AFP.

The Hurriyat has hardened its stand against the government, alleging that security forces were committing excesses on civilians. On the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), which includes Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, and Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, there was a complete shutdown in the Valley on Monday, in retaliation to the killing of two militants and a civilian in Kulgam's Qaimoh area in an encounter with government forces on Sunday.

Normal life was thrown out of gear as shops and business establishments remained shut, and vehicles remained off roads.

After the unilateral call for non-initiation of combat operations (NICO) in Jammu and Kashmir by Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh before Ramzan, the government lifted curbs on separatist leaders and even allowed them to hold meetings. A joint meeting was convened at Geelani's house in Hyderpora earlier, after which separatist leaders issued a statement saying Singh's call for dialogue lacked clarity. Militants and separatists both rejected the NICO offer, and attacks on government forces continued through the month.

On Sunday's Kulgam encounter and the return of cordon and search operations in Jammu and Kashmir, the JRL said it was a "planned genocide of Kashmiri youth by the Indian State". "Forces have resumed 'Operation All-Out' and cordon and search operations in south Kashmir villages, harassing people of all ages," they said. "When people resist their action, they are showered with pellets and bullets with the sole aim of killing them."

Besides Geelani, Farooq, Malik, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu Kashmir chief Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai and Hurriyat (G) spokesperson Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar have also been detained. Among the lower-rung separatist leaders under detention are chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Salvation Movement Zaffar Akbar Bhat and chief engineer of the People’s Political Party Hilal Ahmad War.

The deputy inspector general of police of the Central Kashmir range, Vidhi Kumar Birdi, said the separatist leaders had been detained to ensure order and prevent disruption of peace with their call for a shutdown. "This was part of the plan to maintain the law and order in Kashmir," he said.

However, in a statement, War said the police informed him about his detention at 5 am and said he was not allowed to leave his Maisuma home. "Since Governor's Rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India has unleashed a reign of terror," he claimed.

Sehrai said Kashmir is "an internationally-accepted dispute, and resolutions passed by the United Nations are witness to this dispute". He urged the Centre to "accept the reality and resolve the Kashmir dispute through the implementation of the UN resolutions".

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Geelani described the detention of separatist leaders as "State vandalism", adding that the Government of India's strategy was to "create a 1990-like situation in the state to justify the use of lethal weapons against unarmed and innocent youth". "State forces are now targeting peaceful protesters near encounter sites," the Hurriyat leader said.

The Hurriyat (G) spokesperson said that security forces carried out a pre-dawn raid at his house and later arrested and detained him at the Shergadi Police Station in Srinagar. Gulzar said that Geelani and Sehari had been put under house arrest.

The police also raided Malik's home in Maisuma area near Lal Chowk in the morning and detained him at the Kothi Bagh Police Station.


Updated Date: Jun 25, 2018 20:05 PM

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