No relief for separatists, crackdown on others continue in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Mar 31 – Chairmen of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, besides about a dozen other separatist leaders, remained under house arrest while Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief has been lodged in central Jail, Srinagar. Meanwhile, during night raids dozens of other separatist workers and supporters, have been taken into custody in south Kashmir and Srinagar where bypoll in two parliamentary constituencies will be held next month. The separatists have already issued poll boycott call in both Srinagar and Anantnag seats where voting will be held on April 9 and 12 respectively. There is also a call for holding protests after Friday prayers in the valley against the killing of three civilians in security force firing on March 28 in central Kashmir district of Badgam, where a militant was killed and a soldier injured in an encounter. However, official sources said that restrictions on separatists had been imposed to prevent any law and order problem. There is no change in the situation as majority separatist leaders remained under house arrest, a spokesman for the hardline HC Aiyaz Akbar said. He said Mr Geelani remained under house arrest since May last year and he was not even allowed to offer Friday prayers in a mosque since then. A large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed outside the Hyderpora residence of Mr Geelani, who was arrested a number of time for defying restrictions. However, he was being released every time. Mr Aiyaz said about a dozen other senior leaders, including Mohammad Ashraf Sehrayee, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Peer Saifullah, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Raja Mehrajuddin and Mohammad Ashraf Laya have been put under house arrest while Umar Adil Dar has been detained in police station. I am also under house arrest, Aiyaz alleged, ‘We have apprehension that restrictions on separatist leaders will continue till election drama in Srinagar and Anantnag parliamentary constituencies is over on April 12,’ he said. He alleged that hundreds of youths were arrested in the Kashmir valley, particularly in south Kashmir, during the past about two week and more night raids are being conducted by the police. Meanwhile, chairman of moderate HC Mirwaiz also remained under house arrest, a spokesman for the amalgam told UNI. Security forces and state police personnel remained deployed outside the Nigeen house of the Mirwaiz, who remained under house arrest for the past more than a week. Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has been lodged in Central jail, Srinagar despite his ill health, a spokesman for the front said. Meanwhile, dozens of youths, allegedly known stone-pelters, have also been taken into preventive custody in the city and outskirts during the past one week.