Authorities in Kashmir launched a crackdown against separatist leaders, after their joint call for protests against the establishment of ‘exclusive colonies’ for Pandits and ex-servicemen in the state.
Police detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik on Wednesday afternoon and confined moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in his home. Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani is already under house arrest.
The three separatist leaders forged an issue-based unity to oppose the government’s move to set up colonies for displaced Kashmiri Pandits who migrated from the valley after militancy erupted in 1989. Reports said at least three sites have been identified for this purpose.
Though divided ideologically as well as politically, the separatist leaders held a joint meeting on Monday evening and announced a common protest programme. They said they were opposed to the government’s plan to create “walls of hatred by establishing exclusive townships on the pattern of Israeli colonies in Palestine”.
They called for a complete shutdown on Thursday and “peaceful protests” after Friday congregational prayers.
“The police is raiding every place to arrest our activists and supporters across the valley,” said Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s spokesman.
Meanwhile, the government has denied that the colonies will be exclusive to the Pandits.