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Kashmir shuts on Maqbool Bhat’s 35th death anniversary

Srinagar, Feb 11: Normal life in Kashmir was affected Monday due to a strike called by separatists to mark the 35th death anniversary of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged on this day in 1984 in Delhi’s Tihar jail.

To thwart possible protests authorities had imposed restrictions in the areas falling under five police stations of old Srinagar city, viz: Khanyar, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Nowhatta and Khanyar while restrictions remained in vogue in Maisuma area of uptown as well.

 

Restrictions were also imposed the movement of people in and around the native place of slain leader Thregam.

All the shops and business establishments remained shut while transport was off the roads. The government offices and banks recorded low attendance .However, fewer public and private plied in uptown areas of the City.

Amid chill, large contingent of police and CRPF personnel had been deployed to thwart any kind of protests.

Maqbool Bhat, a resident of frontier district Kupwara, was hanged and buried by government of India on February 11, 1984, in Tihar jail of New Delhi.

The call for shutdown was given by all leading pro-freedom leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Hundreds of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personal in riot gear and armed with assault rifles were deployed across Valley. Witnesses said the forces imposed curbs in the Old City to contain protests. “They had erected concertina wires and armored vehicles were parked at various junctions and bridges of the Shehar-e-Khas,” they said. The police had also deployed its men in volatile Maisuma and Gaw Kadal localities of the City.

Scores of the leaders and activists including females staged the protest in Srinagar and demanding back the mortal remains of Guru and Bhat. The protesting leaders also raised pro-freedom slogans.

The JKLF spokesman claimed that many leaders were arrested during the protest at Lal Chowk Srinagar.

A peaceful pro-freedom protest was held at Trehgam, the native village of Maqbool Bhat. Hundreds of people participated in the protest.The protesters carrying placards and banners demanded return of mortal remains of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat.

Reports of shutdown were received from all the districts of valley including Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag, Kulgam, Budgam, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Bandipora and Baramulla.

Meanwhile, Joint Hurriyat Leaders and activists staged a protest demonstration demanding back the mortal remains of slain Mohammad Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat.

They also submitted a memorandum to the United Nations general secretary Antonio Guterres to seek return of mortal remains of Maqbool Butt and Afzal Guru.

Both Butt and Guru were executed and buried inside the premises of Tihar jail in New Delhi.“On behalf of the people of Jammu & Kashmir we the under-signed convey the overwhelming desire of our people to get the mortal remains of “our martyrs legendary Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and Mohammad Afzal Guru to give them a dignified burial they deserve.”

“It is not only our assertion but the opinion of many human rights organizations, activists and justice loving people around the globe that both ideologues Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and Mohammad Afzal Guru’s execution was based on politically-motivated judgments and against all norms of justice and fairness. They were executed just “to satisfy the collective conscience of the Indian society” rather than on the basis of concrete evidence or the principle of fair justice,” the memorandum reads.