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Geelani aides arrested in Kashmir

Srinagar, April 26, 2007 (Kashmir Newz Desk) :

Close aides of hardline Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani were arrested today by police here, moments before they were to address a news conference.

The arrested include Muslim League chairman Masrat Alam and chairman of one of the factions of Muslim Conference Ghulam Nabi Sumji along with other separatist leaders Mohammad Shafi Lone, Mohammad Yasin Attai, Raja Mehrajuddin and Mohammad Salim Zargar.

The arrests came days after hardline All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s controversial public rally on Sunday at Eidgah in Srinagar near the martyr’s graveyard.

During the rally, anti-India slogans reverberated in air and the flags of militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba’s were seen furling.

Police however took serious notice of the anti Indian sloganeering and registered FIR against Theerek-i-Hurriyat leaders.

Anti-India sentiment is quite common in Indian administrated Kashmir and such slogans have been the hallmark of all protest demonstrations here since 1989, the year insurgency broke out in Kashmir.

Political analysts in the state feel that this is an attempt of New Delhi to choke the voice of Geelani, the senior most consistent secessionist leader in the state.

“Such anti-India slogans are heard even in public rallies of moderate Hurriyat leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and even in the rallies of separatist leaders close to New Delhi like Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone and Democratic Liberation Party chairman Hashim Qureshi,” said one political analyst.

He has rejected holding dialogue with New Delhi till it does not accept Kashmir as a disputed territory, pull back around 700,000 troops from the state and hold a referendum as per the United Nation’s resolutions passed on Kashmir.

Geelani’s private secretary Malik Mohammad Fayaz termed the arrests of Hurriyat leaders as “inhuman and unconstitutional”.

He said New Delhi was frustrated with Geelani’s popularity after seeing the response of the public in the Sunday’s rally.



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