Majid Kapra

Police foil PDP’s march; several leaders detained

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Srinagar: Several PDP leaders and supporters were detained Thursday after they tried to take out a protest march here against the detention of Kashmiri’s, including politicians and alleged human rights violations here.

Holding placards which read “we want to live with peace and dignity”, “restore our basic rights”, dozens of slogan-shouting PDP leaders took out a protest march from party headquarters near the Sher-e-Kashmir Park here against alleged human rights violation, “unwarranted” detention of youth and “intimidation of mainstream political leadership”.

This was the party’s maiden protest after the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcation of erstwhile state into two federally governed territories.

Raising slogans demanding the release of Kashmiris jailed in and outside the Union Territory and political prisoners, including PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, as soon as the marchers stepped out of the party head office to march towards the city centre Lal Chowk, a pose of police deployed in advance bundled them into already waiting vehicles and detained them at nearby Kothibagh police station here.

Several senior leaders, including former MLC Abdul Gani Naseem, Abdul Hameed Kohsheen, Abdul Rouf Bhat and party’s youth wing president Arif Laigaroo besides others were detained and kept under preventive detention.

Earlier talking to media, PDP leader, Abdul Rouf Bhat said the government has left no room for political leadership to raise the issues confronting people of Jammu and Kashmiri, particularly after the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state on August 05, 2019.

He said the there has been no pause in human rights violations in Kashmir valley with hundreds of youth languishing in jails within and outside the union territory without trail.

“We have gathered here on the instructions of our party president Mehbooba Mufti, who has been under continuous detention at her residence.  The aim of holding this protest is to impress upon the government to release all youths who have been languishing in various jails within and outside J&K. We also want human rights violations to end and vexed Kashmir issue be resolved through meaningful dialogue,” Bhat said before being detained.

“Police stops peaceful protest of @jkpdp leaders against the detention of political prisoners, the harassment of youth, the gag on media & rights violations. Police has now detained PDP leaders Rouf Bhat, Hamid Qousheen, Shanti Singh, Arif Laigroo & Mohd Amin,” the party said on its official Twitter handle.

Meanwhile, Mufti’s daughter Iltija took to Twitter over the police action and said “enforced normalcy through institutionalised repression” stood exposed.

“PDP’s Hamid Kohsheen, Rauf Bhat, Arif, @HarbakshDr, Mushtaq & Omar protesting against illegal detention of Kashmiris in & outside J&K have been arrested in Srinagar. Enforced normalcy through institutionalised repression stands exposed. Peaceful protest is also sedition,” she wrote on her mother’s Twitter handle, which she has been using since last year, after Mufti was taken into custody.

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