March 2019 News

Kashmir Shuts Against Ban On JKLF

24 March 2019
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Kashmir observed a complete shutdown Sunday against the government of India's move to ban the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front led by Muhammad Yasin Malik under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. On March 22, the union ministry of home affairs banned the JKLF led by Malik, who is presently serving detention under the Public Safety Act, alleging that the organisation was 'promoting secessionist activities' in Kashmir. The JKLF is the second organisation to be banned by the MHA in a span of less than a month. Last month, the MHA banned the socio-religious organisationJamaat-e-Islami (J&K), alleging that it has links with the militant outfits, including the HizbulMujahideen. The ban on JeI followed a massive crackdown on its members by the police across Kashmir. The organisation's chief Hameed Fayaz is among several Jamaat members slapped with the PSA and shifted to a jail in Jammu. The call for Sunday's shutdown-which evoked a near-total response-was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Malik. All shops and other private outlets remained closed in Srinagar's commercial hub, LalChowk, and elsewhere. However, the weekly Sunday market remained open, though the footfall of shoppers was thin. In Srinagar's Downtown areas, curbs under section 144, which bars assembly of four or more persons at a particular location, were imposed amid heavy deployment of forces to ensure law and order is maintained, an official said. A witness said the gates of historic Jamia Masjid were sealed to ensure no gathering takes place there against the JKLF ban. Shutdown was also observed in all district headquarters, including Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag, Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora, according to reports from these places. A witness said clashes rocked HabbaKadal area of Srinagar when youths took to streets and engaged forces in pitched battles. In small groups, youths hurled rocks and bricks at forces, who, in turn, responded with tear-gas shelling, the witness said. Clashes were on till late evening. Another witness said soon after withdrawal of forces from Downtown areas, youth hit the streets in Sekidafar, Eidgah and NawaKadal and pelted forces with the stones, triggering clashes. The forces responded with tear-gas shelling. Meanwhile, the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain under detention at his Hyderpora residence while the Hurriyat Conference (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest again on Saturday evening.