Separatists detained ahead of Sopore march

Separatists detained ahead of Sopore march

A day ahead of separatists’ proposed “Sopore chalo” march, authorities on Thursday placed chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference under house detention.

The police also took Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik into preventive custody, while about half a dozen second rungs separatist leaders remained either under house arrest or preventive detention in the Kashmir Valley. The police said the step was taken to maintain law and order. All separatist leaders have called for a march to Sopore on Friday to protest the spate of civilian killings in the north Kashmir town.

A senior police official told Deccan Herald that restrictions would be imposed in several areas of Srinagar and Sopore on Friday to thwart the march of separatists. “Roads leading to Sopore will be sealed to prevent any protests or marches by separatists. All major entry and exit points to Sopore town will remain out of bounds for people on Friday,” he added.

Six people have been killed in Sopore since a telecom operator was shot dead inside a BSNL showroom last month. The killing spree in the last few days has created fear with several families in Sopore reportedly shifting to their relatives place in Srinagar and other areas. While the police blame inter group rivalry between militants of Hizb-ul-Mujhideen in north Kashmir as reason for spurt in killings, separatists claim Indian agencies are behind it.

Separatists blame New Delhi for resurrecting “Ikhwani” (government gunmen) movement in the Valley and they attribute Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s statement “use terrorists to neutralise terrorists” as the reason for killings. Ikhwani or government gunmen were notorious in mid ’90s for killings, extortions, rapes and intimidations in the Kashmir Valley.

Meanwhile, a legislator from the Opposition Congress on Thursday blamed Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed responsible for the situation in Sopore. MLA Sopore Abdur Rashid Dar, who stayed away from a district development board, told reporters: “The situation in Sopore is bad, yet the government is unclear about who is behind these killings. In such circumstances, when innocent people are getting killed, my conscience didn’t allow me to attend the board meeting.”

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