The Jammu and Kashmir government has launched a crackdown on separatist leaders ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the state later this week.
Top government sources told Hindustan Times that Modi will visit Srinagar for a day-long trip after inaugurating the 450 MW Baglihar hydroelectric project on the Chenab in Chanderkote area of Ramban district. The commissioning of Baglihar II will increase the state’s power generation to 1,211 MW.
The PM will hold a public rally at Srinagar’s Sher-i-Kashmir stadium on November 7 where he is expected to announce a massive development package for the state. The rally, on the eve of the Bihar election results, will also be attended by chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The development package that Modi is set to announce is expected to be worth around Rs 92,000 crore.
Separatist leaders like JKLF chairperson Yasin Malik, Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party’s Shabir Ahmad Shah and those of the hardline Hurriyat Conference, including Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai and spokesperson Ayaz Akbar, were arrested on Saturday. Others like Javeed Mir of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat have been put under house arrest.
Hardline Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is already under house arrest, has called for a Srinagar ‘Million March’ to counter Modi’s scheduled address in the city. Geelani’s rally will be held in the Tourist Reception Centre ground.
Calling the proposed rally “Kashmir’s referendum against India”, Hurriyat (G) had challenged the government to allow both the rallies.
The Hurriyat said it will seek proper permission from the authorities and “are ready to take all responsibilities of law and order in the city.”
Geelani’s march is being supported by most separatists including Malik and Shah.
“In case, we are not allowed to hold the rally we will give a call for civil curfew,” a JKLF spokesperson said.
The all-women organisation Dukhtaran-e-Millat, which is also supporting the march, has urged transporters in the Valley not to provide transport facilities for those attending the PM’s rally.