Violent Protests Against Yasin's Arrest
13 June 2003
The Times of India
Srinagar: Violent protests rocked different parts of capital city after police arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohommad Yasin Malik along with his two associates at Heral, Arhama bridge at Anantnag. Malik and his two associates JKLF vice-chairman Javeed Ahmad Mir and senior leader Noor Mohommad Kalwal were on their way to Anantnag to proceed with their signature campaign to press for the involvement of Kashmiris into the proposed Indo-Pak peace process. The three separatists leaders were booked by the police under unlawful activities. Police produced them before the judicial magistrate Anantnag who sent them to five day judicial custody. They have been shifted here and lodged in the Central Jail, Srinagar. Reports said Malik and his colleagues were arrested at Arhama bridge by a police party when the separatist leaders were on their way to Anantnag to proceed with the signature campaign. Police stopped their cavalcade and took the three leaders into custody and whisked them away to unknown destination. A senior police officer said Malik has been booked in a fresh case and he has been produced before the court. He, however, did not spell out whether they are going to slap Public Safety Act on him or not. 'Law will take its own course. Malik has been booked under a fresh case of unlawful activities', he said. Violent protests rocked Maisuma, the residential locality of Malik and JKLF headquarter, after the news of arrests reached there. Scores of people came on roads and started protesting against the arrest. Protesters tried to take out a march which was not allowed by the authorities. Police used batten charge and burst smoke shells to disperse the mob. The arrest came close on the heals of the chief minister's announcement on the floor of the hosue that the government would allow separatists to carry out their activities in order to fight the 'battle of ideas'. Condemning Malik's arrest, JKLF vice- chairman Bashir Ahmad Bhat said Mufti's claim has once again proved 'hoax and eyewash'. Addressing a hurriedly called press conference, Bhat said Mufti has taken the step in desperation because the signature campaign has proved last nail in the coffin of state government which stand exposed before the people. Lambasting the policy of healing touch, he said Mufti could not withstand the 'battle of ideas' which he claimed to fight with the separatists. 'Mufti has accepted the defeat in the first round itself. Malik's arrest is a glaring example for it', he said. Bhat urged the United States, Britain and United Nations to wake up from the slumber and take strong notice of the Malik's arrest. Describing the arrest of Malik as 'frustration of the state government', Hurriet Conference said people's response to the signature campaign has punctured the state government claim that people were with them.