Scared of mass agitation in occupied Kashmir, the Indian government has put veteran pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani under house arrest to bar him from leading protest demonstrations against the transfer of 800 kanals of Kashmiri forestland to a New Delhi based Hindu body. Geelani presided over an emergency meeting of the Majlis Shoora, highest decision making body of the Hurriyat, at his residence in which it was decided to hold demonstrations against transfer of forest land to SASB and police action against peaceful protesters. Acting on the threat of stopping all supplies to the occupied Kashmir valley, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists blocked the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, asking the government not to cancel the land transfer to SASB.
A spokesman of the Hurriyat said the meeting was called to discuss the latest situation, including land transfer and death of a youth and injuries to scores others in police firing. He said the members presented their views on the situation and it was decided that Geelani will lead a peaceful procession from Khankha-e-Moula to register protest against land transfer and police action.
Akbar said Geelani was put under house arrest since 2 am. A large number of police personnel have been deployed outside his Hyderpora residence and he was informed that he cannot leave his house. However, there was no restriction on those who were coming to meet him. Shabir Shah told Greater Kashmir on phone that police had surrounded his residence at Sanat-Nagar at 4.30 AM. Shah said he had planned along with other Hurriyat leaders to attend the funeral of youth killed in Nowhatta.
Shah said both Hurriyats had planned a joint demonstration. Pro-freedom activist Firdous Shah was arrested in the morning near his residence in Abi-Guzar. He has been taken in custody by the Kothi Bagh Police Station. A police official said he was taken into preventive custody. Reports said Mushtaq-ul-Islam has also been placed under house arrest.
While The BJP workers, led by their sole lawmaker in legislative assembly, Jugal Kishore, raised anti-government slogans and forced the closure of the only motorable road link to the Kashmir Valley at Nagrota, 13 kms north of here. The blockade caused huge traffic snarls. Kishore told his supporters that cancellation of the order ‘will be dealt with severely’. He said the government should not interfere in the matters of faith. The protesters warned the government that if the government revokes the order, they would further intensify their protest and mobilize the entire Hindu community.
Jugal Kishore told Greater Kashmir that he along with his supporters held the demonstration as a mark of protest against the ‘cheap politics of Kashmir leadership.“They (Kashmiri leaders) are presently issue-less and in view of forthcoming assembly election they are playing with the sentiments of common man for their vote politics,” he said, adding that PDP ministers were there in the cabinet meeting in which this order was passed.
He said that in no case the order should be canceled. “Any such step will lead to communal tension in the state,” he said. Meanwhile, BJYM organized a massive protest demonstration at Janipur Chowk. It was led by BJP state general secretary Shamsher Singh Manhas and BJYM district president Pranav Gupta. -SANA