Separatists Call Kashmir Strike
11 February 2006
Srinagar: A strike is being observed in Indian-administered Kashmir to mark the anniversary of the death of a separatist who was executed in 1984. Mohammad Maqbool Bhat was the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) which began the armed separatist movement in the region. He was hanged in Delhi after he was convicted of murdering an intelligence officer in 1984. Shops, schools and colleges are closed in Kashmir and road traffic is sparse. In the state's summer capital, Srinagar, the police say they arrested some 20 JKLF members who were on a protest march. The JKLF and other separatist groups are demanding that Mohammad Maqbool Bhat's remains be returned to his family for burial. In an unrelated incident, the Indian army says its soldiers have killed two separatist militants in a clash in the mountainous Doda district in Indian- administered Kashmir. An army spokesman, Colonel D K Badola, said the clash took place when soldiers were carrying out a search operation in the area. He said the militants opened fire on the troops which led to a gun-battle between the two sides. The dead militants have not been identified.