Separatist march to curfew-bound Shopian foiled

Written by: IANS
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Srinagar, Sept 20: The authorities placed senior leaders of the moderate Hurriyat group, including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, under house arrest Friday to foil their bid to march to curfew-bound south Kashmir's Shopian town.

Mirwaiz Umer had called for a march to the curfew-bound Shopian town by separatist leaders and activists Friday.

A crowd of people supporting the Mirwaiz (as Kashmir's Muslim religious leaders are called) assembled at the Jamia Mosque in Nowhatta area of old city Srinagar Friday, raising slogans of "Shopian Chalo!"

They started to march, but were intercepted by police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel who used batons and tear gas canisters to disperse the marchers near Rangar area of the old city.

Some people in the moderate Hurriyat alleged that security forces had forcibly entered the Rajouri Kadal headquarters of the Awami Action Committee, headed by the Mirwaiz.

Police had earlier Friday placed Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest inside his uptown Nigeen residence in the city.

Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, secretary of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, told IANS that other moderate separatist leaders including former chairman, Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, Abbas Ansari, Bilal Gani Lone and Shahid-ul-Islam himself have also been placed under house arrest by the authorities to foil the march.

Meanwhile, curfew continued in the south Kashmir Shopian town for the 14th day Friday, although authorities said it was relaxed Thursday to allow people to stock up on essentials needed in daily life.

The marchers were protesting the incidents that occurred earlier this month. Four people were killed in CRPF firing at Gagaran village near Shopian town on Sep 7, and another civilian was killed at the same place Sep 11.

While four of the five killed in these two firing incidents were proved to have been unarmed civilians, the exact identity of the fifth slain person is still being established by the police.

Locals have been alleging that the fifth person killed in the unprovoked firing, reportedly by CRPF, was a labourer from Bihar.

Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered a magisterial probe into the two firing incidents and also the shifting of the CRPF camp from Gagaran, and its replacement by the state armed police.

"The shifting of the Gagaran CRPF camp will start today," a senior state government official told IANS Friday.


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