Separatists Call 4-day Strike

Separatists Call 4-day Strike

9 February 2013
Greater Kashmir
Anil Anand

New Delhi: Chiefs of both factions of Hurriyat Conference - Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq - were today arrested on way to Kashmir and put under house arrest in New Delhi as a preventive measure following the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru. Hurriyat (G) has called for 3-day strike against the hanging while the Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz and JKLF appealed for 4-day mourning and strike. According to Hurriyat sources, Syed Ali Geelani was detained on way to Delhi Airport after he was scheduled to fly to Srinagar. “Geelani was arrested in Delhi when he was on way to airport to arrive in Kashmir. He has been detained by Delhi Police and wasn’t allowed to reach the airport to fly back to Srinagar. He has been put under house arrest”, a local news agency quoted Hurriyat (G) sources. While Geelani was in the city for medical treatment, the Mirwaiz was camping in the capital trying to secure a passport so that he can go to Egypt for attending the Organisation of Islamic Conference. Official sources said that policemen restricted the exit of any family member of both the separatist leaders residing in South Delhi. Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a 3-day shutdown against the hanging of Afzal. Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone, Geelani said: “People should observe complete shutdown on Feb 9, 10 and 11 against Afzal’s hanging.” He said Guru’s hanging is “murder of democracy” and “imposing curfew is against basic principles of democracy.” Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has also been detained while he was on way to Delhi Airport for flying back to Srinagar, Hurriyat sources told a news agency. Strongly condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, Mirwaiz has called for 4 day mourning cum shutdown across the valley. Expressing strong displeasure and anguish over the hanging, Mirwaiz has called for return of the body of Guru to Kashmiris. He termed the hanging of Guru as beginning of a new chapter in the ‘freedom movement of Kashmir.’ “This is a part of India’s election drama and a step motivated by electoral considerations in which Kashmiris are being made sacrificial lambs”, said Mirwaiz, adding “It is unfortunate that the family of Afzal Guru had not been informed nor given any sort of information”. Mirwaiz demanded an immediate handing over of the body of Guru to Kashmiris for offering the last rites in accordance with Islamic traditions. He rued the fact that “Afzal Guru had not received a fair trial and was not directly involved in the attack, despite which he was hanged by the government for electoral gains”. A Hurriyat spokesperson said Mirwaiz is a religious leader of Kashmir and was returning to the Valley to be among his own people. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front called for four-day shutdown in Kashmir, while its chairman started a 24-hour hunger strike against the execution of Afzal Guru and his burial inside Tihar jail. JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik started a 24-hour hunger strike in Islamabad, Pakistan, to protest against the execution of Afzal Guru, a JKLF spokesman said. Quoting Malik, he said: “By hanging son of Kashmir Muhammad Afzal Guru, New Delhi has once again proved that it is not interested in resolving the Kashmir issue.” Malik asked people to observe mourning and shutdown for 4 days. “People of Kashmir won’t take the cruel murder of their son lightly. We will fight till the movement is taken to its logical end,” he added. The JKLF spokesman said that Yasin Malik and Supreme Commander of the Front, Amanullah Khan, addressed a joint news conference at press club Islamabad today. “Yasin Malik spoke to the bereaved family of Afzal Guru on phone and assured them that the whole Kashmiri nation was with them in this hour of grief and sorrow,” he added. Malik castigated New Delhi for not allowing Afzal to meet his family members before executing him. “Tall claims of New Delhi about India being largest democracy have proved to be a hoax. Afzal Guru was hanged illegally and undemocratically. Decision of not handing over his body to his family members is contrary to every civilized law,” he added. Former militant commander and Commander in Chief of Al Umar Mujahideen, Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar, has also strongly condemned the hanging of Afzal Guru. While calling the hanging a condemnable act, Zargar has said that ‘martyrdom’ of Guru will strengthen the resolve of Kashmiris to keep struggling for the movement. He termed the hanging as history repeating itself. Authorities today arrested Democratic Freedom Party leader Shabir Ahmad Shah and other leaders in Kashmir as a precautionary measure. According to sources, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Firdous Ahmad Shah and some other separatists were arrested this morning by the police from their respective residences. DFP Chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah has also condemned the hanging of Guru while terming it a ‘milestone in the freedom movement of Kashmir’. According to DFP spokesman, Shah was deeply anguished over the hanging and demanded handing over of Guru’s body to the family for offering the final rites. Peoples Conference Chairman and Hurriyat (M) executive member Bilal Gani Lone has also condemned the hanging of Guru by the Govt of India. He termed the decision unfortunate and barbaric. Hurriyat Conference leader Aga Syed Hassan has also strongly condemned the hanging of Guru. According to Hurriyat sources, Agha Syed Hassan has been placed under house arrest by police. Salvation Movement Chairman Zafar Akbar Bhat has also condemned the hanging, terming it as against principle of human justice. He said the people of Kashmir will not be deterred from the path of ‘freedom movement’ through such tactics. Meanwhile, Prof S A R Geelani, who was acquitted in the Parliament attack case by Supreme Court, was also placed under house arrest as a preventive measure. Geelani alleged that the government did not inform Afzal Guru’s family before he was hanged. “The rejection of mercy petition is subject to judicial review. That opportunity should have been given to him. I am not sure what has happened,” he said.