Yasin Malik detained, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest as separatists shut down Kashmir
Three key separatist leaders were detained on Thursday, a day after Governor’s rule was enforced in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), as much of the Valley observed a shutdown strike in protest against the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari a week ago.
Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, who called the protest, were detained. Mirwaiz and Geelani were put under house arrest and Malik was taken into police custody. They released a statement condemning Bukhari’s murder.
“Journalistic fraternity has faced tremendous hardships during the past many decades while carrying out its professional duties. It is because of the contribution of the vibrant Kashmiri media that reports with sincerity and against all odds...that the ground situation in Kashmir gets highlighted and their contribution can never be ignored,” they said in a joint statement.
Bukhari, 50, was assassinated when three men opened fire on him just outside his office in Srinagar on June 14.Two of his personal security officers were also killed in the attack.
The killing of Bukhari was cited by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as a pointer to the worsening law and order situation in the state. The party withdrew from its alliance with the People’s Democratic Party on Tuesday, prompting chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to resign.
On Thursday, businesses, markets, schools and colleges were shut across the Kashmir valley amid heavy deployment of police and CRPF personnel in sensitive areas of old Srinagar.
Jammu and Kashmir police have said Bukhari was killed by terrorists and released closed circuit television pictures of the three men, who were not immediately identifiable.
On Wednesday, the police detained another person for questioning from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Militant outfits like Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba have blamed Indian agencies for the murder. On Thursday, PTI quoted people it didn’t name as saying that Governor NN Vohra is likely to call an all-party meeting the following day.
(With PTI inputs)