Kashmiris defy restrictions to attend militant leader’s funeralArchive
SRINAGAR: Authorities enforced a curfew across most of India-held Kashmir on Sunday, the first day of Ramazan, and partially cut telephone services in an effort to stop protests over the killing of a top militant commander.
Amidst the ongoing unrest in the disputed Himalayan region, India’s home minister claimed that his government had managed to find a “permanent solution” to the Kashmir issue.
Lockdown in the disputed region badly affected life there on the first day of the holy month after widespread violence on Saturday over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat in a gunfight with Indian forces.
Security personnel in riot gear erected barricades in Srinagar and other towns in southern Kashmir to prevent people from reaching the commander’s funeral.
Indian minister says govt working on ‘permanent solution’ to the problem
But thousands of mourners defied the security curbs to attend the burial of the militant commander in his hometown amid anti-India and pro-independence slogans.
Srinagar’s central mosque remained shut and devotees were barred from offering prayers.
“Restrictions have been put in place in some areas to maintain law and order,” police chief Shesh Pal Vaid said.
Bhat and a 16-year-old associate were killed in a gunfight near his native village in Tral area. A protester was shot dead by troops during clashes as hundreds of villagers tried to break the security cordon to help the militants to escape. Clashes spread to other districts, leaving dozens injured.
Last year nearly 100 protesters were killed after militant chief Burhan Wani was killed, triggering months of anti-India protests. Bhat took over as the leader.
Yasin Malik, the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was on Sunday arrested from his residence, the police said. A police official said Malik had been shifted to central jail in Srinagar.
The authorities put all the prominent leaders of Hurriyat Conference under house arrest in Srinagar. Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain confined to his Hyderpora residence, while Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under detention at his Nigeen residence.
Addressing a public reception in Sikkim, India’s home minister alleged that Pakistan had been trying to destabilise India by fomenting trouble in Kashmir. “But I want to tell all of you that our government will find a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue,” said Rajnath Singh. He said there would be no compromise on the “territorial integrity of India”.
The minister also ruled out inviting groups opposed to Indian sovereignty over Kashmir for talks and claimed whoever wanted to talk “development and peace” was welcome.
“We have come up with a permanent solution to solve Kashmir. The initiative has begun. We are moving forward,” he said.
He was replying to a question from IANS while talking to a group of journalists on the sidelines of a BJP function to highlight achievements of the three years of the NDA government.
The minister, however, refused to elaborate on what kind of solution the BJP government had found for the disputed region.
Asked if the solution was “political in nature”, Singh said: “It is too early to discuss it in public. I don’t want to discuss it with the media.”
Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2017