Ahead of Sopore March, Police Crack Down on Pro-Freedom Camp



In a clear indication of not allowing any protest march, police on Thursday cracked down on top pro-freedom leaders ahead of proposed Sopore Chalo programme.

Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik on Monday, this week, issued a joint protest calendar in wake of killings of civilians at the hands of unidentified gunmen in north Kashmir’s Sopore Town. As part of the protest calendar, a shutdown on Wednesday has already been observed across the Kashmir region. And, to “express solidarity” with the people of Sopore, the pro-freedom leaders urged public to march towards the Apple Town on Friday.

Top police officials in Srinagar and Baramulla told GNS that no one would be able to march towards Sopore. “We will ensure no one reaches Sopore,” they said. Official sources said that the police would likely impose strict restrictions in Sopore, Baramulla and in five police station of downtown Srinagar tomorrow.

Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesperson, Ayaz Akbar said that amalgam’s chairman continues to remain house arrest. “Besides, senior party leaders including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Altaf Ahmad Shah are under house arrest,” he said. The spokesperson further said that since last week he himself is under house detention.

“In order to foil Sopore march, the authorities have started massive crackdown against our leaders and workers particularly in Sopore. Police are raiding the houses of our activists,” he added.

Hurriyat (M) spokesperson in a statement said that amalgam’s chairman and Valley’s chief cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Fraooq, was placed under house arrest by police. Condemning the police action, the spokesman said “despite restrictions, Mirwaiz would lead a march to Sopore” and urged people to reach the Apple Town.

JKLF chairman Yasin Malik was held by police last night ahead of Sopore March and has been lodged in Kothi Bagh police station, a party spokesperson said in a statement. Condemning the Malik’s detention, the spokesman termed it “as undemocratic, oppressive and uncivilized act of rulers”.

Democratic Freedom Party chairman, Shabir Ahmad Shah, has been detained by police and shifted to undisclosed location, a party spokesman said. The chairman of National Front, Nayeem Khan, has also been detained.

The unidentified gunmen in Sopore killed six people since May 25 including former militants and a Hurriyat activist. The pro-freedom leadership and United Jihad Council (UJC) blame “Indian agencies” for the killings while police said a Hizbul Mujahideen splinter group is involved in the assassinations.

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