Separatists defy curfew for south Kashmir march, detained

Separatists defy curfew for south Kashmir march, detained 

Srinagar, July 25 (IANS) Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were taken into preventive custody on Monday after defying prohibitory orders as authorities enforced a strict curfew in the restive Kashmir Valley to foil a protest march to Anantnag.

Geelani, who has been in detention at his residence in upscale Hyderpora neighbourhood, came out and attempted to march towards Anantnag in south Kashmir.

However, policemen posted outside his house stopped him and drove him in a bullet proof armored vehicle to the nearby Humhama police station, a police officer told IANS.

The Mirwaiz was also detained at a police station near his house when he defied restrictions and attempted to march towards Anantnag.

Other separatist leaders including Shabir Shah have also been detained while Yaseen Malik of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) has been lodged in a Srinagar lockup since violent protests erupted across the Kashmir Valley following the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

The government on Monday tightened security screws across the Kashmir Valley to thwart the Anantnag march, fearing an outbreak of violent protests if people at the instigation of separatists came out in large numbers to reach south Kashmir.

Police said strict curfew remained in Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts in the south while restrictions also continued in parts of Srinagar, Kupwara, Sopore and Baramulla.

The separatists have extended their protest shutdown call till July 29.

Reminiscent of the 2008 and 2010 unrest, separatists have issued weekly protest calendars in the valley asking people when to open or shut their shops and come out on the streets for demonstrations.

Meanwhile, another youth injured in the street protests, Sameer Ahmad Wani, succumbed on Sunday, increasing the death toll to 49 in the current unrest.

The summer vacation for schools and colleges in the valley officially ended on Sunday. Education Minister Naeem Akhtar confirmed the end of the vacations.

“It is now for the district administrations in the valley to decide which educational institutions should start functioning,” Akhtar said.

But most educational institutes in the valley remained closed on Monday due to restrictions and separatist called shutdown.

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