After months of calm, stone-pelting resurfaced in Srinagar on Thursday when activists of separatist group Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) clashed with the J-K police personnel after a youth was picked up from Maisuma locality.
The trouble started after a youth was arrest on Wednesday night. A police officer said Ashiq Hussain Dar, son of Mohammad Ramzan Dar, a resident of Maisuma, was rounded up on Wednesday night. “Dar was involved in a criminal case,” said the officer.
Malik, whose bastion is Maisuma only, intervened in the arrest case and met police officials for his release. After Malik failed to secure Dar’s release, Malik and his associates started a peaceful protest march. The protesters shouting pro-freedom slogans started demanding Dar’s release and marched through the main Maisuma street.
By the time, a huge posse of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and police personnel closed the mouth of the street and disallowed the procession. The police personnel and Malik entered into an altercation and exchanged blows.
“You people do not deserve peace. Our procession was peaceful,” shouted Malik at a police officer as he hit him while resisting detention. Malik, who vows to abide by Gandhian philosophy, was picked up along with three other JKLF leaders. Malik, along with two other JKLF activists, received minor injuries during the scuffle.
The arrests sparked off a pitched stone battle between JKLF supporters and the security forces. The ding-dong battle continued for more than two hours. The police used a number of smoke-shells and swung batons to control the situation. The stone pelting disturbed traffic movement in the area and shopkeepers too rolled their shutters down.
“Malik and his party workers went inside the police station Maisuma and intimidated and attacked the policemen. They ransacked the office,” said a police officer with the Maisuma police station on the condition of anonymity.
Recently appointed Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani too called up police official for a report of the incident. Mailk was booked for “disturbing peace in the area and indulging in disruption of traffic movement”.
After witnessing five months of unrest last year, this year has passed off peacefully so far with very few incidents of stone pelting. Last year, 112 people were killed in street protests in the valley.
The stone-pelting incidentally just a day after police and the CRPF held patrol drill to control protests in Kashmir valley. The move has come under criticism from several separatists. "The administration is itself charging people to later beat and kill them. Men in uniform is fulfilling their vested interests by provoking people through mock exercises and summer agitation rumour," said moderate Hurriyat conference senior leader Nayeem Ahmad Khan at a public gathering in Sopore.