Malik, Lone, Shahid Arrested26 January 2011
Srinagar: Police Wednesday foiled an attempt by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) to hoist its flag at Ghanta Ghar in historic Lal Chowk here by arresting its chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and senior Hurriyat Conference (M) leaders Bilal Ghani Lone and Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam. Malik had challenged the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) for its plans to hoist the tri-color in Lal Chowk on January 26. He along with Lone and Shahid had gone underground for the past two days to evade arrest in view of his call for Lal Chowk march to counter the BJP plan. The trio along with dozens of activists took the heavy contingent of police and soldiers by surprise when they surfaced at Maisuma in the afternoon and defied strict curfew. Shouting pro-freedom and anti-BJP slogans, a procession led by Malik, Lone and Shahid tried to march towards the Clock Tower at Lal Chowk. “Yeh Mulk Hamare Hai Is Ka Faisla Hum Karangey (This is our nation and we will decide its future),” the JKLF supporters, carrying the party flags, shouted. However, a large posse of police and paramilitary CRPF men intercepted them near Akhara Building and bundled them in a vehicle. They were later lodged at Kothibagh Police Station. The arrested included Advocate Bashir Ahmad Butt, Khalil Ahmad Khalil, Showkat Bakshi, Muhammad Iqbal Gundroo, Javed Zargar, Mushtaq Ajmal, Sheikh Muhammad Aslam, G M Dar, Professor Javed, Muhammad Younis, Ashiq Ahmad Dar, Faisal Mir, Ashfaq Hussain and Ghulam Rasool Hazari. The Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Syed Aashiq Bukhari said Malik, Lone and Shahid along with other activists were taken into preventive custody to maintain law and order. Pertinently the police had for the past two days launched a crackdown to arrest the JKLF activists in Srinagar and adjoining Budgam district. Police conducted several raids on the party’s central office at Maisuma and residences of party members including Malik since yesterday night while a curfew was imposed in Maisuma, Basant Bagh, Mandar Bagh and adjoining areas today. Meanwhile, people in Old City adopted a novel way to hoist JKLF flags by tying them with gas filled ballons. The JKLF flags could be seen in air in various parts of the city. “By hoisting the JKLF flags across the Valley, the people of Kashmir have reiterated that Kashmir is a disputed territory and they are masters of their destiny. BJP’s anti-Kashmir and anti-Muslim politics cannot make us forget the huge sacrifices offered by Kashmiris for resolution of the dispute. Nobody can undermine the sacrifices of Kashmiris. They want peaceful resolution and this is only possible when they are treated as prime party to the dispute and given right to self-determination,” a JKLF spokesman said. The spokesman said the JKLF flags were hoisted at Maqbool Manzil Maisuma, Maqbool Centre Bohri Kadal, Kokar Bazar, Chanpora, Lasjan, Baba Demb, Shalteng, Kangan, Budgam, Malarata, Padshahi Bagh, Saraf kadal, Naid Kadal, Khanyar, Islamabad (Anantnag) besides in Kupwara, Sopur and Baramullah areas. He also condemned the arrest of the leaders and activists and curbs on journalists, terming it as undemocratic act.