Malik Held; Hurriyat Says Govt Frustration Showing
12 June 2003
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Chairman of the JKLF Yasin Malik was today arrested along with two senior party leaders at Heller in Anantnag. Malik, JKLF vice-chairman Javeed Ahmad Mir and leader Noor Mohammad Kalwal were arrested a day after they started a signature campaign to press for the involvement of Kashmiris in the proposed India-Pakistan peace talks. The Hurriyat, which has JKLF on its executive council, described the arrest as 'frustration of government.' A Hurriyat spokesman said people's response to the campaign has punctured the government claim that the people are with them. The JKLF leaders were booked for unlawful activities and were sent to five-day judicial custody. Malik started the signature campaign from his village of Zalangam and his outfit claimed that more than 7,000 people had endorsed the view . Soon after the word about Malik's arrest spread, violent protests raged in Maisuma, the JKLF headquarters. People came out on the streets and resorted to stone-throwing and slogan-shouting. Malik's arrest follows the CM's assertion in the Assembly that the government would not stop separatists from carrying out their activities in order to fight the 'battle of ideas'. At Maisuma, JKLF general secretary Bashir Ahmad Bhat hurriedly called a press conference and termed Mufti's claim of providing an opportunity to leadership of all hues as an 'eyewash.' Bhat said Mufti acted in desperation because the signature campaign contested his claim of 'Kashmir returning to normalcy.'