Restrictions in Srinagar to prevent separatist rally

Srinagar, July 13 (IANS) The authorities on Monday imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar and placed separatist leaders under house arrest to thwart a rally called by the separatists.

“Restrictions have been imposed in six areas of Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Safa Kadal and Maisuma today (Monday) to maintain law and order in the city,” a senior police officer told IANS.

“The restrictions are purely preventive in nature and do not apply on bona fide movement of officegoers, patients and students,” the police officer added.

Senior separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Miwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan have been placed under house arrest to prevent their participation in a joint separatist rally called by these leaders to commemorate the martyrdom of 22 Kashmiris killed in police firing outside the central jail in Srinagar this day in 1931 during the reign of Dogra Maharaja, Hari Singh.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and former chief minister Omar Abdullah visited the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Naqashband Sahib locality in the old city area separately to offer ‘Fateha’ prayers and floral tributes.

Amid tight security and restrictions in the area, the VIP visits passed off peacefully.

A controversy of sorts has surfaced between the ruling coalition partners, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over Monday’s official functions.

Sayeed-led PDP regards those killed in 1931 police firing as martyrs since they laid down their lives fighting against the autocratic rule of a king.

The BJP on the other hand celebrates the Dogra Maharaja rule in Jammu and Kashmir as a golden period.

State BJP vice president Ramesh Arora has said those killed in 1931 had risen against a genuine ruler of the state.

The party leaders in the state have decided to stay away from all official functions on Monday connected with the commemoration of 1931 martyrs.

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