Mirwaiz Booed In Geelani’s Bastion16 December 2011
Srinagar: Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had to face a hostile crowd in North Kashmir’s Sopore town on Friday even as the Hurriyat (M) chairman maintained that his visit to the bastion of veteran separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani passed off peacefully. Mirwaiz was in the town to address the Friday congregation at Khankahi Moula Shrine in the Chaenni Khaenn area of Sopore. After offering the Friday prayers, Mirwaiz started to address people outside the shrine. However, according to eyewitnesses, some youth in the gathering objected to his security cover. “The youth questioned Mirwaiz as to why was he carrying policemen along with him,” said the eyewitnesses. “We have escorted Geelani sahib, we can shield you as well,” the youth were quoted as telling Mirwaiz. Eyewitnesses said Mirwaiz opted not to answer any of the queries from the youth and preferred to leave the venue. “As Mirwiaz was leaving the venue, the youth hurled stones at his escort vehicles,” they said. The youth also raised slogans in favour of Geelani like ‘Kaun karega tarjumani, Syed Ali Shah Geelani’. However, Mirwaiz denied that he faced any hostile crowd. “I addressed people and then left the place. There may have been clashes later on between youth and the police but we faced no difficulty during our stay there,” he told Rising Kashmir. He added that during his address he raised the slogans which were wholeheartedly responded by the people. “I talked on various issues like demilitarization and the need for tripartite dialogue. We were received very well by the people of Sopore,” Mirwaiz asserted. A senior police official, wishing anonymity, said Mirwaiz’s escort vehicles were stoned by some youth and that police has registered an FIR in this regard. “Some vehicles of Mirwaiz were stoned. It was a clash between two separatist groups and we have lodged an FIR in this regard,” he added. Meanwhile, a police spokesman has said the attack on Mirwaiz in Sopore is unfortunate and condemnable. “This is one more manifestation of hooliganism perpetrated by the elements hell-bent to throttle the dissenting voice. The same elements have previously also beaten a shopkeeper, Tariq Ahmad Bhat, at Nowhatta when he defied their dictates to shutdown his shop in down town area,” he said. He said some miscreants pelted stones and kangris on Mirwaiz’s vehicle in Sopore.