Srinagar, Feb 23: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has called for shutdown on Sunday (today) to protest the mass arrest, censorship and any tampering with Article 35-A. In a statement issued on Saturday, Joint Hurriyat said the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and the “mass crackdown and illegal detention” of more than 150 Jamat-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz in nocturnal raids across the valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of “suppression of pro-self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected.” Joint Hurriyat strongly condemns this “dictatorial policy” of cracking the whip and arbitrary arrests against Kashmiris by those calling the shots in J&K, the statement said. The leadership said that deployment of additional 100 companies of paramilitary forces on an urgent basis also indicates that “something is cooking in this regard.” The leadership said that challenge to heredity state subject law is an extremely important issue for the people as it is akin to our very existence as a people and directly linked to the Kashmir dispute. “Leadership said the spontaneous shutdown and protests across the valley against even the thought of tempering with the law should leave no doubt in the minds of those who have left no stone unturned to choke and muzzle the voice of Kashmir and are breaking records in repression, that the people of Kashmir will never allow it. Joint Hurriyat said entire people and pro people leadership of J&K are one on this,” the statement said. The Joint Hurriyat also denounced the “pressure tactics” being used by the authorities on certain media houses reporting in Kashmir. “The standard of factual reporting maintained by our journalist is highly commendable,” it added.
Arrests, addt’l forces ‘part of poll exercise’: Police KNS Srinagar, Feb 23: Arrival of more forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including those of Jamaat-e-Islami is purely part of an election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections along with other parts of country, reports quoting police officials said on Saturday. News agency KNS quoted a top police official said that “the arrival of Central forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including Jamat-e-Islami is part of election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections in the state along with other parts of the country,” adding that “anti-election campaign won’t be allowed and all such people including separatists will be detained to ensure incident free fair and transparent elections in the state.” He also said that the central forces deployed for Amarnath Yatra and municipal and panchayat elections last year are also returning which is a routine practice.” The rumours panicked the people in valley after news about the deployment of hundred companies of central forces including 45 companies of CRPF, 35 companies of BSF, 10 companies of SSB and 10 companies of ITBP spread on social networking sites as union home ministry in a communication to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary and Jammu and Kashmir Home Secretary informed them about the additional deployment of the central forces for coordination with operational wings of all the state and central forces in the state. He regretted that rumour mongering on several issues is panicking the people while there is nothing new in the deployment of central forces and arrests of separatists in connection with the election exercise for the ensuing General elections.
Crackdown ‘arbitrary’: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Feb 23: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday questioned the legality of the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir leaders, saying the “arbitrary” move would only “precipitate matters” in the state. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was reacting to the government crackdown on separatists and Jamaat-e-Islami which began on Friday night. JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and dozens of Jamaat leaders, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, have already been detained. “In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K,” Mehbooba tweeted. “Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she said. The Centre has rushed 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces to Kashmir without assigning any reason for the heavy deployment.