April 2000 News

Freed Hurriyat leaders visit office, undergo medical check-up

4 April 2000
Indian Express

New Delhi: Three senior Hurriyat leaders, including its chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who were freed on Monday night, on today visited the organisation''s office here even as speculation was rife that more senior Hurriyat leaders would be released soon. Besides Geelani, two other leaders Abdul Gani Bhat and Moulvi Abass Ansari also underwent medical check-up after their release as part of the Government''s efforts for restoration of peace in the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir, sources said. The three were released at Delhi''s Palam airport after over six months'' detention under the Public Safety Act in Jodhpur Jail. When contacted, released leader and spokesman of the amalgam Bhat declined to react: ''No words for the press today, we are tired.'' The trio were lodged in Jammu and Kashmir House here. The State authorities took them to Batra Hospital here for a check-up this morning. Earlier, the three were flown in a State aircraft to Jammu from Jodhpur but were later shifted back to Delhi following mounting tension in Anantnag district of South Kashmir, they said. The State Government, which had some reservation over the release of the Hurriyat leaders, refused their release in Srinagar or Jammu as they did not want to take any chance of the three Hurriyat leaders fuelling tension in the Anantnag district which has been rocked by violence and firing over the alleged dissappearence of some youths. The State authorities have already put the acting chairman of the conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest to prevent him from visiting Anantnag district. The issue regarding their release had been discussed between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and State Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday in which all aspects including post-release scenario were looked into, sources said. They said the release of the Hurriyat leaders would hopefully help the efforts for restoration of peace in the State. Apart from Geelani, Bhat and Ansari, some other prominent Hurriyat leaders including chief of the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Yaseen Malik, Javed Ahmed Mir and Mohammed Ashraf Sehrai are lodged in Jodhpur Jail. The sources said the other leaders would also be released in a ''phased'' manner. Almost all of the top Hurriyat leaders, who were leading a poll boycott campaign in the State, were arrested in August and September last year. Strike disrupts normal life in Kashmir valley Srinagar: A day-long strike, called by Hurriyat Conference against the Brackpora firing incident, disrupted normal life in Kashmir valley today, official sources said here. The complete strike staged in the Valley brought life to a standstill even as police arrested 22 lawyers and used force to disperse people protesting against Monday''s firing incident at Brackpora in Anantnag, in which seven processionists were killed and 30 injured. The streets in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir valley wore a deserted look as shops, markets and business establishments were closed and all modes of transport off the roads. Government and semi-Government offices, banks, educational institutions, courts and other establishments also remained closed in view of the strike, sources said. Agitated residents took to streets in violation of prohibitory orders to lodge their protest against Monday''s killings in Maisuma, Kokerbazar, Budshah Chowk, Aloochibagh, Jawahar Nagar, Ikhrajpora, Rambagh-Solina, Natipora, Rajouri Kadal and Khanyar in Srinagar, Lawaypora on Srinagar-Baramulla Road, Chadoora and Yachgam in Badgam district, they said.


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