J-K police on Friday averted a confrontation with hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani when it released three youths on his intervention in downtown Srinagar.
The trouble started when Geelani delivered a speech after Friday prayers at downtown Srinagar's Balgarden mosque. "P Chidambaram's (Union home minister) visit to downtown Srinagar recently does not mean peace has returned to Kashmir. It's not bravery of Chidambaram but credit goes to security agencies, which has established graveyard's peace here," said Geelani in his speech to a large congregation.
It was after five Fridays that Geelani was allowed by the state administration to establish mass contact. In the past, Geelani would be confined to his Srinagar uptown residence by the police on Fridays.
Friday's speech was punctured by sloganeering by Geelani's supporters in the mosque. Immediately after Geelani left the mosque, the police picked up three youth who raised slogans in favour of Geelani.
"We took three youth into preventive custody after the Friday prayers," confirmed a senior police official of the Shaheed Gunj Police Station on the condition of anonymity.
When Geelani was informed about the arrests by his supporters, he returned to downtown Srinagar and stepped into the police station to release the youth.
Sources said as the message went up to higher decision-makers in the security establishment and the ministers concerned, the police were asked to release the boys. The police are hush hush about the release as no police officer, despite repeated attempts by the HT, commented over the release of the three youth.
"Geelani intervened and got the boys released," said Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar.
The police claim Geelani signed bonds to release the youth. Akbar refuses Geelani signed any papers to release the youth. "Maybe the youth might have signed papers but nor Geelani," said Akbar.