A complete shutdown was observed on Thursday across the Valley amid restrictions imposed by the state authorities in parts of Srinagar on the 32nd anniversary of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat. The day-long strike was in the memory of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged in a New Delhi jail on February 11, 1984. Bhat was buried in New Delhi’s Tihar jail . The shutdown call on his 32nd anniversary was given by chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik, both the factions of Hurriyat including Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, senior Hurriyat leader led by Shabir Ahmad shah and several other separatist leaders. All shops, businesses establishments, and private offices remained closed in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir. Public transport also remained affected but private vehicles were seen plying on most of the roads. The strike also affected work in government offices, banks and post offices. Authorities sealed off most parts of Srinagar including Maisuma, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Nowhatta, Kral Khud and Khanyar. Police and paramilitary were deployed on the roads to prevent protests. Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel fanned out in the old city areas of Srinagar and blocked all the roads with barricades and concertina wire to curtail pedestrian and vehicular movement in these areas. However, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere till the report was filed. Similar reports of shutdown were also received from central, south and north Kashmir of the Valley. According to the KNS correspondent, curfew like restriction was imposed in Trehgam area of Kupwara district to thwart any possible protests. “A peaceful protest was also held at Trehgam– the native village of Maqbool Bhat– by his family members and other people residing in the area. They were demanding mortal remains of Afzal Guru,” he informed. “The protesters went to the martyr’s grave yard in the area and held a congregational Fateha Khawani,” he said. Curfew like restrictions in parts of Srinagar and Trehgam, Kupwara was imposed to maintain law and order. Police officials informed KNS that the decision to impose restrictions was taken following the call given by separatist camp to organize protest marches on the 32nd anniversary of Bhat. Bhat was secretly hanged and buried at New Delhi’s Tihar jail on this day in 1984. Authorities on Monday arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik from Abi Guzar area of Srinagar and later, he was remanded to seven-day judicial custody while the several other leaders and their activists have also been taken into preventive custody. Police spokesman and SP PCR, Manoj Kumar Pandita told KNS that the situation remained peaceful. “The situation in the curfew bound areas as well as the other parts of the Valley remained peaceful throughout the day. No untoward incident occurred,” he said.
2015 Kashmir Despatch