Hurriyat leader held for anti-national speech
14 August 2001
The Asian Age
Srinagar: Within a few hours of her asking the people of Kashmir to hoist the Pakistan flag to celebrate the country’s Independence Day on Tuesday, Fareeda Behanji, who heads a secessionist outfit, was arrested by the police from her Srinagar house. The police said that a case of sedition and making other “objectionable anti-national utterances” was registered against the chairperson of the Kashmir Mass Movement, who was interviewed by the Pakistani official electronic media over telephone on Monday evening. Soon after, the interview, which also asked to observe India’s Independence day as a “black day” was telecast, a police party went to her Natipora residence on the outskirts of Srinagar to arrest her, police sources said. She was later lodged at an all-women police station at nearby Rambagh, sources added. A Hurriyat Conference handout says that the police picked her up along with her son, Massarat Maqbool from their Allochi Bagh house here. Ms Fareeda spent several years in Tihar jail on the charge of masterminding serial bomb blasts in Delhi. Soon after her release earlier this year, she was made the chairperson of the Kashmir Mass Movement, a Hurriyat Conference constituent. Recently she went to Pakistan, where she declared Kashmir the jugular vein of that country, at her public appearances. The conglomerate of the Kashmiri secessionist parties also alleged that a large number of people have also been detained by the police, about three dozen of them at a security force camp set up within a school premise here. The police confirmed the “preventive arrests” but did not reveal the exact number. Meanwhile, Pakistan flags appeared at some places across the Kashmir Valley early on Tuesday morning, including in a side street of Lal Chowk, the city centre, in the north western town of Baramulla and southern Pulwama, reports said. The police, however, shrugged these off as isolated incidents which had no credence. Meanwhile, militants shot dead a special police officer, Ashfaq Ahmed Parray, at Srinagar’s Batamallo general bus stand. A commuter, Gulam Nabi Mir, was injured in the shootout. In Pampore township near here, security forces came under a militant attack.