Normal life was hit in the Kashmir Valley on Sunday due to the Joint Resistance Leadership’s call for a shutdown. The group, comprising separatists Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, had called for a bandh following Malik’s detention and a police crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami outfit, Greater Kashmir reported.
Malik was detained on Friday evening. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman was held from his home in Srinagar’s Maisuma at 9.30 pm that day and is currently lodged in Kothibagh police station.
Earlier this week, the state government withdrew security cover from several Kashmiri separatist leaders, including Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah and Saleem Geelani. The move to withdraw security cover came a week after 40 Central Reserve Police Force jawans were killed in a suicide bombing in Pulwama district.
The Joint Resistance Leadership had issued a statement on Saturday condemning the “dictatorial policy of cracking the whip and arbitrary arrests against Kashmiris by those calling the shots in Jammu and Kashmir”, Kashmir Reader reported. The group added that the deployment of 12,000 paramilitary personnel in the state also indicated that “something is cooking”.
The group had also urged people to observe a shutdown to defend Article 35A of the Indian Constitution. The article, incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954, grants special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear petitions against the article on Monday.
All shops and commercial establishments in Srinagar and other district headquarters of the Valley remained closed on Sunday. A complete bandh was also observed in Bannihal town.
However, the police continued to detain leaders of the Jamaat-e-Islami on Sunday. Hurriyat (G) leader Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi was arrested from his Bijbehara residence early in the morning. Jamaat-e-Islami Vice President Ahli Hadees and leader Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri were also held.
The security forces also arrested eight more activists of the extremist organisation from Anantnag. As many as 15 people, including five Jamaat-e-Islami activists, were arrested from Shopian. Bashir Ahmad Rather, brother of Peoples League member Nisar Ahmad Rather, was arrested from Dadsara in Tral.
The police had also detained 150 people, most of them from Jamaat-e-Islami, early on Saturday, following which the Joint Resistance Leadership issued a call for a bandh.
Farooq Abdullah speaks to Union home minister
Meanwhile, National Conference President Farooq Abdullah told Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday night about panic prevailing in the Valley, party vice president Omar Abdullah tweeted. “He has requested the Union government to step in with a statement and steps that reassure people.”
On Sunday, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik asked the people of the state not to believe in rumours about the actions of security forces. He added that the deployment of additional security forces was only a preparation for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the state.