Authorities Wednesday imposed stringent restrictions in the city centre here to foil JKLF’s proposed funeral in absentia for Front co-founder Amanullah Khan who passed away in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on April 26.
Police detained JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik early in the morning, while the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest. Besides, dozens of separatist leaders and activists were detained to thwart funeral in absentia.
Authorities had imposed curfew like restrictions in Maisuma and placed rolls of concertina wires at GhantaGhar (Clock tower), AbiGuzar, Regal Chowk, here to prevent JKLF activists from reaching LalChowk. The traffic movement was also stopped from Regal Chowk to GhantaGhar.
Similar curbs were placed in Maisuma including GowKadal area. Shops in these areas also remained closed due to strict restrictions.
Witnesses said a police contingent reached his Maisuma residence and detained JKLF chief and later lodged him in police station Kothibagh.
Amid restrictions, a protest march was led by JKLF vice president Bashir Ahmed Butt from BasantBagh, here.
“After crossing many barriers, the protestors were intercepted at BudshahChowk by the police and later whisked away.
They were lodged in police station Kothibagh.
Those detained include senior front leaders ShowkatBakshi, Sheikh Abdur Rashid, Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Bashir Kashmiri and others,” JKLF spokesman said.
“Police also raided JKLF office at AbiGuzar and detained front activist Irfan Ahmed.”
Senior Hurriyat Conference (M) leader and JKLF (H) chairman Javaid Ahmed Mir was also detained at AbiGuzar and lodged in police station Kothibagh.
Pertinently, JKLF had called for congregational funeral prayers in absentia at 2 pm at LalChowk for the party patriarch Amanullah Khan
Talking to Greater Kashmir, JKLF chief said those who were selling the slogan of ‘battle of ideas’ to the masses today “tore apart the basic fundamental right, freedom of expression.”
“We were not allowed to offer funeral prayers. This is clear violation of basic values of humanity,” Malik said.
“By imposing curfew and curbs in the city centre and other areas, the government once again betrayed its moral and mental bankruptcy. Today, the ugliest face of the fascism was on display at LalChowk.”
According to JKLF spokesman, funeral prayers were held at many places in Srinagar and at all district headquarters across Kashmir.
“Funeral prayers in absentia were held at Trehgam, KupwaraChowk, Hyhama, Bandipora, Hajin, Pulwama, Kulgam, Budgam, Anantnag, Ganderbal, Srinagar, Baramulla, and Sopore,” he said.
Senior resistance leader and Salvation Movement Chairman Zaffer Akbar Bhat led funeral prayers at Bag-e-Mehtab Srinagar.
HURRIYAT (G) CONDEMNS CURBS:
Strongly condemning the restrictions imposed to disallow funeral prayers in absentia and detention of many pro-freedom leaders and activists by the police, Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani said that the government action is not only a “worst kind of state terrorism but it also amounts to direct interference into our religious affairs and it will not be tolerated in any ways.”
“Every deceased person is respected in a civilized society and his last rites are allowed peacefully. The government of J&K has no respect for the laws or the moral values and this state is practically ruled by the martial law,” Geelani said in a statement issued here.
HURRIYAT (M) HOLDS SPECIAL PRAYERS:
While the authorities placed Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest early in the day, Hurriyat leaders met at the amalgam headquarters at Rajbagh, here.
The Mirwaiz was supposed to chair the Hurriyat executive and general council meeting and also participate in the funeral in absentia at LalChowk.
According to Hurriyat (M) spokesman Advocate Shahidul Islam, senior leader of the amalgam Prof Abdul GaniBhat held a condolence meet at the Rajbagh headquarters where special prayers were offered for JKLF founder Amanullah Khan.
Prof Bhat highlighted the political and social contribution of late Khan and paid high tributes to the deceased.
The meeting expressed solidarity with the family members of late Khan.
“The meeting condemned the curbs imposed by the administration to foil the funeral in absentia and caging of Hurriyat (M) chairman. The meeting termed the detention of Mirwaiz as highly undemocratic,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, talking to Greater Kashmir, Chairman Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said government has now started utilizing its full military might to suppress the pro-freedom camp. “Imposing curbs and placing the pro-freedom leadership under detention is the height of oppression. We are not even allowed to offer funeral prayers of our own people. This shows that government has turned despotic,” he said.
“Barring us from offering Friday prayers, attending funerals and doing other religious duties is the direct interference into religion. We appeal to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other human rights bodies of the world to intervene into this serious issue.”
SEPARATISTS DENOUNCE RESTRICTIONS:
National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmed Khan while strongly condemning the imposition of restrictions and arresting of pro-freedom leaders in Srinagar, said that Kashmir is the only region in the world where people are not allowed to hold Nimaz-e-Jinazas of the dead.
“How shameful that Nimaz-e-Jinaza in absentia of late pro-freedom leader Amanullah Khan was banned by using forces, imposing restrictions and arresting leaders,” Khan said in a statement.
He added that today’s “shameful act by the government” has again revealed the “face of India and its local collaborators.
“Ban on Nimaz-e-Jinaza is an act of big disgrace and we strongly condemn such acts,” Khan said, adding that “this is a clear message that people living in the disputed region are deprived of their social and religious rights.”
JKLF (H) chairman and senior Hurriyat (M) leader Javaid Ahmed Mir also strongly condemned the restrictions in and around the LalChowk to foil the congregational prayers in absentia for JKLF founder Amanullah Khan.
JKLF (R) Patron Barrister Abdul Majid Trumbuand chairman Farooq Ahmad Dar (BitaKarete) in a joint statement condemned state authorities for “arbitrary approach and unwanted curbs on funeral prayers.”
President Jammu Kashmir Mahaz-e-Azadi (MeA), Mir Muhammad Iqbal in a statement strongly condemned curbs imposed on the people to prevent them from offering namaz-e-jinazah in absentia.
Tehreek-e-Muzahamat (TeM) chairman Bilal Sidiqui today expressed deep sorrow over the demise of the JKLF supreme leader Amanullah Khan, terming it a great loss to people of Kashmir.
“In him we have lost a great, able and sincere leader who had dedicated his whole life for the cause of freedom and faced countless hardships with patience and courage. He was one among a few true sons of soil who worked tirelessly to wake up the nation from deep slumber and to prepare it for resistance against occupation,” Bilal Sidiqui, in a statement today said, condemning the imposition the restrictions on funeral in absentia of Amanullah Khan and the arrest of JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik.
OFFICIALS CITE LAW AND ORDER PROBLEM:
A senior official in the district administration said that the JKLF chairman was told to select some other place in Maisuma for offering prayers instead of LalChowk which he, however, rejected.
“There was apprehension of law and order problem as JKLF had invited all the separatist leaders to participate in the funeral,” he said, wishing not to be named.
Police sources said there were apprehensions of waving of Pakistani flags in the funeral in absentia for the JKLF founder.
“A security review was done late on April 26 and it was decided not to allow funeral in absentia at LalChowk,” they said.