Activists stopped from entering Chakothi
30 November 2007
Muzaffarabad: At least three dozen activists belonging to various Kashmiri nationalist organisations were prevented on Friday from entering a town near the line of control, where they planned to stage a demonstration in support of free movement and trade between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar. The demonstrators belonging to the All Parties National Alliance (Apna), a conglomerate of about a dozen pro- independence Kashmiri groups, shouted slogans in favour of an independent Kashmir as police stopped them near a military post outside Chakothi, witnesses told Dawn by telephone. A spokesman for Apna had announced earlier this week that they would hold a “peaceful, symbolic demonstration” in Chakothi to “reflect the peoples’ desire for early launch of trade between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar.” Witnesses said as the Apna activists, including Arif Shahid, Rauf Kashmiri, Shaukat Maqbool Butt, Zahoor Ahmed Butt, Mahmood Baig, Prof M.A.R.K. Khalique, Farooq A. Niazi and Waqar Kazmi, approached the military post outside the Chakothi bazaar they were stopped by around four dozen policemen, reportedly under the orders of the army, from moving ahead. Some 200 metres beyond the military post, a temporary barrier had been erected by the army where they were stopping every vehicle and allowing only local residents to go ahead after checking their identity cards, an eyewitness said. Angered by the authorities’ move, Apna activists shouted slogans against the government.