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March to Martyrs’ Graveyard foiled; protests met with arrests, clashes
Srinagar under siege: Strike, ‘curfew’, barricades
SRINAGAR, July 13: The state government today foiled the separatist sponsored march to Martyrs’ Graveyard at Naqashbandh Sahab by imposing undeclared curfew in most parts of old city here and arresting and placing under house arrest senior separatist leaders.

However, the mainstream leaders including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed visited the graveyard and offered floral tributes to martyrs under tight security cover.

Normal life in rest of Kashmir Valley was paralysed due to separatist sponsored strike. Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces was made at Naqashband Sahab and other parts of Old Srinagar to enforce the undeclared curfew and restrictions. They had blocked the roads and bridges with concertina wires and armoured vehicles. The people were asked not to venture out and stay indoors.

Chief minister Omar Abdullah accompanied by Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather, Rural Development Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar, Lok Sabha member Sharief-ud-Din Shariq, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Taj Mohi din, Sajad Ahmad Kichroo, Mohammad Akbar Lone and senior police and civil officers paid floral tributes at the martyrs' graveyard. They also offered fateh.

However, the graveyard was kept out of bounds for the separatist leaders. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Aga Hassan, Molvi Abbas Ansari, Musroor Abbas and others continued under house arrest.

Despite undeclared curfew and restrictions, Muslim league activists a constituent of Hurriyat Conference (G) held a protest rally from Shahid Jung towards martyrs graveyard but it was stopped at Khankhai mola. The police burst smoke shells, resorted to lathi charge to disperse the protest. Many of the protesters were also arrested. The protesters later pelted stones towards the police and the clashes continued for more than an hour.

A similar protest was held by the supporters of Hurriyat Conference (M) at Rajori Kadal area, but the undeclared curfew imposed by the state government forced them to disperse. The Hurriyat (M) also held a

protest from Mirgund in city outskirts, but when the protest reached Narbal, police did not allow it to proceed.

People also tried to lead protest demonstrations at various other localities of downtown, but the undeclared curfew imposed by authorities did not gave them any chance to proceed towards martyr’s graveyard.

In the early hours of the day some youths pelted stones towards police near police station Khanyar, when they came to know that undeclared curfew has been imposed in their area. During the clashes one police officer was injured in the stone pelting.

The reports of stone pelting incidents have also witnessed at Nawhatta, Khanyar, Rajouri Kadal and various areas of Nalaimar road in old Srinagar. However, the heavy deployments of police bring the situation under control quickly. During these clashes number of youths also got injured.

JKLF (H) chairman Javid Ahmad Mir, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza and various other leaders were arrested along with their supporters, when they tried to hold a protest demonstration.

Awami Ittihad party president Engineer Rashid, along with his supporters was arrested near Rajbagh, when they were trying to hold a protest towards the martyrs graveyard.

Police and CRPF personnel, deployed in strength, sealed and secured the martyrs’ graveyard at Naqshband Sahab in downtown for the visit of various mainstream leaders who paid floral tributes to the martyrs of

July 13, 1931. The roads and lanes leading to the venue remained blocked by armoured vehicles, iron barricades and razor wire.

The undeclared curfew and tough restrictions were imposed in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Khawaja Bazar, Rainawari, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal and other neighbouring localities. Police and CPRF men didn’t allow any civilian movement in these localities. Pertinently, police has cracked down on youth and arrested scores for taking part in “pro-freedom protests and stone-pelting.”

Officials, however, said restrictions and prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC were in place in the city to stave off protests. The Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat Conference (M) had asked people to visit the martyrs’ graveyard for prayer meeting.

Due to a strike call given by almost all separatist groups including both factions of Hurriyat and JKLF, a complete general strike was observed in Valley.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed and transport was off the roads. The Hurriyat Conference factions headed by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had called for a strike and march to

Martyrs' Graveyard at Naqshband Sahib to pay homage to 22 persons killed in firing by soldiers of autocratic rulers on this day in 1931.

Contingents of police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in strength in all major towns of the Valley and Srinagar city to thwart any protest demonstration. In the old city, most of the lanes and by-lanes were manned by security personnel in riot gears. Police used iron barricades to prevent movement of people. Uptown Srinagar observed thin traffic and shops were closed in the wake of the shutdown call.

All districts in north and south Kashmir also observed a shutdown. In North Kashmir, complete strike was observed in Baramulla, Kupwara, Handwara, Sopore and Bandipora. Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. The situation was not different in South Kashmir. In all districts of South Kashmir, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantang complete strike was observed. “Except vehicles of Yatris no vehicle was plying on the roads here,” said a resident of Anantang.

Reports said most streets in these districts wore a deserted look because people preferred to stay indoors and business establishments remained closed. The inter-district transport was also found missing.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister, while paying tributes to the martyrs said that the sacrifice of martyrs to free the society from autocracy and lay edifice for democracy and human dignity is one of the richest chapters of the history of Jammu and Kashmir.

“The best way to pay homage to the martyrs is to help create equitable and palatable environment for everyone to grow and develop in a democratic atmosphere”, he added.

The Congress leaders paying tributes to the 1931 martyrs said a delegation of the party visited the graveyard which includes Bashir Ahmad Magray, G.N.Monga, Muzaffar Parrey and Yasir Pandit also visited the graveyard and offered fateh.

News Updated at : Sunday, July 14, 2013
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