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J-K govt acts ahead of Tral rally, puts separatist leaders Geelani and Alam under house arrest

Separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat on Thursday denied waving a Pakistani flag at a rally organised to welcome his senior Syed Ali Shah Geelani here, but said it was a representation of the feelings, aspirations and sentiments of the people across Kashmir.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2015 07:42 IST

Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and separatist leader Masarat Alam were on Thursday put under house arrest on the eve of their rally in Tral town of Pulwama district.

"Geelani has been placed under house arrest. A posse of policemen has been deployed outside the chairman's house at Hyderpora as a preventive measure to maintain law and order," a police officer said, adding that similar restriction has been slapped on Alam.

Geelani had called for a march to Tral town in South Kashmir on Friday where two youths were killed in an anti-militancy operation on Monday.

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed asked police to deny permission for the rally which was scheduled to be taken from Srinagar to Tral.

"The huge deployment of police personnel has been made around the residence of Geelani sahib and a police vehicle stands blocking the main entrance gate.These actions further expose the fake pro-Kashmir stance of Mufti Sayeed," said a Hurriyat spokesperson.

Earlier, reacting to demands for the arrest of Alam over pro-Pakistan slogans and flags being waved at a rally in Srinagar on Wednesday, chief minister Sayeed said the law will take its own course.

"If anyone has made a mistake, the law will do its work," Sayeed told reporters even as he said waving of Pakistani flags and raising pro-Pak slogans were "not acceptable" and "will not be tolerated".

Hours after the rally, Sayeed had received a phone call from home minister Rajnath Singh asking him to take "immediate and stringent" action against the law breakers.

The home minister asserted, "We will not tolerate anyone raising slogans like 'Pakistan zindabad' on Indian soil.

"There can be no compromise on national security. Politics cannot impinge on national security," he told Sayeed.

Did not wave Pak flag: Alam

Alam, meanwhile, denied waving a Pakistani flag at the rally organised to welcome his senior Geelani , but said it was a representation of the feelings, aspirations and sentiments of the people across Kashmir.

A day after being slapped with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for anti-national activities, the hardline Hurriyat leader came out with clarification saying he did not wave the Pakistani flag and should not be held responsible for that.

"There was a welcome programme for Geelani. Some youth had (Pakistani) flags there. Why should I be held responsible for it?" Alam, who was released last month after being detained under Public Safety Act for more than four years, said.

"This is a general trend in the state and not one man's doing. To hold one person responsible for it, I do not think is the right thing," he said.

Alam, whose release last month sparked a controversy with the two alliance partners, the BJP and PDP, talking on different lines, was caught on camera raising anti-India slogans to greet Geelani on his return from Delhi.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has registered an FIR against Geelani, Alam and two more leaders of the hardline Hurriyat under the unlawful activities prevention Act.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, IG Kashmir, Javeed Geelani said that case is being investigated and "Alam has not been arrested so far''.

Alam is the chairman of Muslim League, a constituent of hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani, and was charged with inciting people during 2010 in which more than 117 young men were killed most during action by security forces.

BJP demands immediate arrest

The BJP in Jammu and Kashmir demanded the immediate arrest of Alam and Geelani over the raising of anti-India slogans at the Srinagar rally.

"We have conveyed to our coalition partner especially to the chief minister who holds the home ministry that we are not satisfied with mere registration of the FIR against Masarat Alam and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for their anti-national activities, we want their immediate arrest," J-K BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi said.

He said the party was of the opinion that activities of Masarat Alam pose a threat to the national security.

"As long as this man is out of jail, he continues to be a threat to national security. BJP is of the view that this man should be behind bars," he said.

FIR against Geelani regrettable: Pakistan

Pakistan said people waving its national flag on the streets of Srinagar is the "manifestation of deep and lasting emotional bonds" between the Kashmiris and the Pakistanis.

Reacting to pro-Pakistan slogans and flags being waved at a rally addressed by hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani against whom an FIR was registered for "unlawful" activity, foreign office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said it was a regrettable move.

"What we witnessed yesterday on the streets of Srinagar is the manifestation of the deep and lasting emotional bonds between the people of Kashmir and the people of Pakistan," she said in response to a question.

Read: Masarat Alam, Geelani booked for 'hoisting Pak flags' in Srinagar

First Published: Apr 16, 2015 18:50 IST