Blow To Separatists, Key Man Behind Protests Caught9 August 2010
The Indian Express
Srinagar: Dealing a major blow to the ongoing separatist-led unrest in the state, the J-K police on Monday arrested Ghulam Muhammad Sumjhi, one of the main figures behind the protests. Together with his more prominent Hurriyat colleague Masarat Alam Bhat, Sumjhi, acting chairman of the hardline Hurriyat faction in Geelani’s absence, has been chiefly responsible for issuing week-long shutdown calendars that have brought Kashmir to a standstill. Sumjhi had gone underground since the outbreak of the current spell of stone throwing which has caused the death of 51 people, mostly teenagers including two boys under the age of ten. “Yes, we have arrested him,” a senior police officer told The Indian Express, on condition of anonymity. “We expect his arrest may have some positive influence on the situation.” Sources said he was arrested from an uptown Srinagar locality. Sumjhi, known for his hawkish stance, not only shuns any engagement with Centre but is also against a broader unity among the two factions of the Hurriyat. Earlier this year, he sabotaged an attempt by Hurriyat moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for a joint separatist-led protest programme. However, with Geelani freed and back to steering the course of the street anger in the Valley, Sumjhi and Alam have retreated into the background. Meanwhile, with one more boy succumbing to his injuries sustained during a protest pushing the toll to 51, authorities reimposed curfew and restrictions across Valley to prevent further unrest.