SRINAGAR: Terming National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) charge-sheet against Kashmiris and Army Chief’s recent statement as “threats”, the Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Thursday said the Government of India’s “military power” will not cow down them from carrying forward the “ongoing freedom struggle”.
Joint Hurriyat, comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik, addressed a press conference hours after the NIA filed a charge-sheet against 12 persons, for “conspiring to wage war” against the government by carrying out “secessionist activities” in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Joint Hurriyat termed it a “kidnapping” by government of India.
In his telephonic address, Geelani, who was under house arrest, termed the recent India Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement by linking “Kashmir political struggle with extremism far from truth”.
“He wants to link it with extremism and kill Kashmiris. We will continue our peaceful struggle till gets freedom,” he said.
Indian Army Chief’s had said that people in Kashmir have realised that it is “very difficult to secede from India” and they are also getting tired of militancy.
He laid emphasis on the campaign to bring back the “radicalised Kashmiri youth into the mainstream”. “This will put an end to the menace of militancy in the state,” General Rawat had said.
While Geelani said that Kashmiris were fighting a “political struggle” for right to self determination. “We will never be part of India. We are fighting against the India occupation,” the octogenarian Hurriyat leader said.
Terming “freedom as Kashmiris right”, he said that accession with India was “temporary”.
“India took the Kashmir issue to the UN. Eighteen resolutions have been passed and signed both India and Pakistan recognizing the status of the state as disputed,” he said.
He said that Kashmiris were not taking any part of India. “We are not part of India although we wish for its betterment.”
He claimed that NIA booked Kashmiris on “fabricated” charges. “They did no crime. Nothing has been proved against them,” the Hurriyat leader said, demanding releasing of all political prisoners.
He appealed people to observe shutdown on January 26 against the “Indian occupation in Kashmir”.
He said statement given by leaders in India were an indication they want to turn India and JK into a “Hindu country”. We should follow teachings of Islam and Quran,” he added.
Mirwaiz, who addressed the presser at his Nigeen residence along with Malik, said that there was a “persistent campaign” on part of GOI and national media to align Kashmir “struggle with terrorism”. “Our struggle is political, peaceful and humane,” he said.
Referring to Army Chief statement, he said that government of India wanted to link “Kashmiris peaceful struggle with terrorism” to mislead people.
“General Rawat statement is a submission what people of JK want and majority wants Azaadi,” Mirwaiz said.
He claimed that New Delhi has handed over Kashmir to Army. “Kashmiris won’t be cowed down by his statements and by NIA arrests. GOI is pursuing military policy to silence voices of Kashmiris,” the Hurriyat leader said, while calling Kashmir an “internationally accepted dispute and indigenous in nature”.
“Militancy is one aspect of the struggle. But efforts are being made to mislead people. General Rawat wants to link our political struggle with terrorism to mislead people,” he said.
Mirwaiz said they won’t be “scared” and “cowed down” through “intimations” of New Delhi. “That is why charge sheet has been kept open,” the Hurriyat leader, said.
He said that New Delhi’s “suppressive” policy was forcing Kashmiri youth to pick up guns.
He said that NIA has mentioned Jamat-d-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s name in charge sheet to sensationalize the issue.
The JKLF Chief Mohammad Yasin Malik said that General Rawat wants his soldiers to “beat up Kashmiris”. “He wants to scare us and kill us,” he said, while calling “struggle as religion” for Kashmiris.
He said that NIA has filed chargesheet that Pakistan sponsored 2016 unrest.
“The 2016 unrest began after Burhan Wani was martyred. Did Pakistan kill him?”Malik asked.
He said that when people were getting killed then JRL issued protest calendars. “NIA arrested these people for fuelling 2016 unrest. Protest calendars were issued by Geelani, Mirwaiz, and me. Then we three are main culprits and should have been arrested,” he asked.
He said the arrested ones had no role in agitation. “Most of them were in jails,” he said. “It is purely a political kidnapping. It is a blackmailing and threatening us that we should talk to GOI’s interlocutor. You started operation all out in 1995 but failed and repeating same but won’t succeed,” he claimed.
He said it was for the first time since 1931 that Jamia Masjid Srinagar was locked so many times in the last two years.
“We want democratic rights but India gave us graveyards. India remembers Jallianwala Bagh massacre but so many massacres have taken place in a small part (Kashmir),” he added.
Hajin gunfight ends, 12-year old killed by militants:Police
Srinagar, Mar 22: Two militants, one of them a top commander of Lashker-e-Taiba, and a 12 minor boy were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Hajin area of Bandipora district on Friday.
Reports said a joint team of Army’s 13RR, CRPF and SOG launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) at Mir Mohalla of Hajin on Thursday afternoon.
It soon turned into a gunfight which ended Friday morning with the death of two militants.
A 12-year-old boy, Atif Mir, who, the government forces claimed, was made “hostage” by the militants was also killed during the encounter.
Addressing a joint press conference called by army, police, and CRPF, SSP Bandipora, Rahul Malik said they had inputs about presence of militants in the Hajin area for some time and launched several cordon and search operations.
He said this was the third CASO in which a “chance encounter” ensued. He claimed the police rescued the six civilians in the first two hours of gunfight.
“After that we came to know that two more civilians were trapped inside who were taken hostage by the two militants. Among the measures we took was to make announcements through megaphones, we also used local Auqaf committees, and family for releasing of hostages,” the SSP said.
The SSP said that police also involved a team specialized in room to room intervention.
“By the time they reached the third floor, fire came out. We also tried to send the mother, who went inside to make appeals but again militants opened fire at them. In this situation, we were able to rescue one hostage: the old uncle of the trapped boy,” Rahul said.
The SSP claimed they also called the Magistrate at the spot who appealed that the boy should be released.
There are also few videos apparently recorded by government forces in which old parents of the minor are seen pleading before the trapped militants, asking them to release their son.
“Unfortunately, those efforts didn’t materialize. When the firing from the other end intensified, we also retaliated. In this process, two militants with pseudonyms, Ali and Hubaib got killed. In this process, we received information from the rescued civilian. He told us that the minor boy was being held hostage by Ali. The militant didn’t allow the boy to go out, and killed him before our team stormed the building,” he claimed.
Reports said the house belonging to one Abdul Hamid Mir was razed to rubble during the gunfight and all the three bodied were completely charred. Police and army also recovered two Ak-47 rifles.
The government forces, the SSP said, tried to adopt various methods to rescue the boy. The SSP claimed that one of the militants Ali wanted to marry a girl from the family whose members were held hostage.
“The family members of the girl had sent her to some other place. Ali demanded that girl should be brought back and then only he would allow the hostages to go out. This is what had been transpiring in their house. By the time we received the input, the cordon and encounter had already started,” he said.
The police said both the slain were foreign militants and affiliated with LeT.
“Ali has been involved in many civilian killings. He had a trademark of keeping a long knife which we have also recovered. Besides, foreign militants don’t operate from one area. They keep on moving from one district to another. For the last five to six months, their presence has increased in this area. They keep on changing their name, identity and area of operation,” he said.
He claimed that Ali had been operating for the last two years. “We can’t say how many foreign militants are active presently but whosoever is there we are behind them,” he added.
SOPORE RESIDENT AMONG TWO MILITANTS SLAIN IN BARAMULLA: Thousands of people on Friday attended the funeral prayers of Aamir Rasool Kaboo who was among two militants slain in a gunfight with the government forces in Kalantra Kandi Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla Thursday night.
Witnesses said that thousands of people assembled at Aamir’s home at Arampora Friday morning to take part in his last rites. Amir’s body was handed over to the family shortly before midnight.
The mourners raised pro-freedom slogans as they marched with his body to the martyrs’ graveyard where he was laid to rest.
Amir and his associate, believed to be a non-local, were killed in a gunfight with the forces in Kalantra on Thursday. Three soldiers, including an officer, were wounded in the firefight.
A complete shutdown was also observed across the Sopore town and its adjacent areas.
Two JeM militants killed in Shopian gunfight it
Srinagar, Mar 22: Two Jaish militants, including a former SPO who had joined the outfit in 2018, were killed in an encounter in Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation in Ratnipora village late last night.
Quoting a police officer, news agency GNS said that the CASO was launched following inputs about the presence of some militants.
“The joint team in the meantime fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot which was responded by militants and it was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight”.
“During the course of gunfight, two militants have been killed and their bodies along with two weapons were recovered from the site late this afternoon,” the officer said, adding that both the slain militants were affiliated with JeM outfit.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Choudhary identified the slain militants as Showkat Ahmad of Heramain and Yasir Ahmad Shah of Aarhama.
The SSP added that Showkat was an SPO-turned-militant and had joined the militant outfit last year.
Meanwhile, massive protest erupted near encounter site and its adjoining villages including Gadapora as protesters tried to march closer to the gunfight spot. The forces used pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. The stone pelting clashes amid a shutdown was also received from neighbouring Pulwama district
At least fifteen youth were injured in the clashes near encounter site. Among the fifteen injured, ten of them were taken to district hospital Shopian for treatment. A policeman namely Tariq Ahmad also sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in adjoining Ratnipora village of the district, the official sources said.
A doctor who operated upon them said that five youth suffered pellet injuries in their eyes while one of them had been shot in the neck.
“All the ten injured were later referred to different hospitals in Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the gunfight, the internet services were suspended in Shopian for precautionary measures. (With inputs from GNS)
Centre bans JKLF under ‘anti-terror’ law
New Delhi, Mar 22: The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under ‘anti-terror’ law on Friday, officials said.
The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
They said the organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to banning of JKLF, PDP president and former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Yasin Malik renounced violence as a way of resolving J&K issue a long time ago. He was treated as a stakeholder in a dialogue initiated by then PM Vajpayee ji. What will a ban on his organisation achieve? Detrimental steps like these will only turn Kashmir into an open air prison.”
National Conference Vice President and another former CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, too expressed his thoughts over the decision.
“For 4 1/2 years (four and a half years) Yasin Malik isn’t a threat, Jamaat Islami isn’t a threat, Pakistan National Day is a function that must be attended. Now suddenly once an election is announced an immediate u-turn is executed,” he wrote on Twitter.
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