Terrorists prevent Mufti from holding public rally in J&K

Updated on May 10, 2007 02:21 PM IST
Terrorists threaten attack on the rally forcing the PDP leadership to call it off at the last minute, reports Rashid Ahmad.
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None | ByRashid Ahmad, Srinagar

Terrorists prevented former chief minister and Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayed from holding a public meeting at Wachi on Wednesday. Terrorists threatened attack on the rally forcing the PDP leadership to call it off at the last minute. Terrorists also circulated posters asking people to remain away from the meeting.

As a part of its mass contact exercise, which many people believe a prelude to campaign for next year's assembly elections, the PDP had planned a rally in this remote township of Shopian district in south Kashmir on Wednesday.

The rally had got added political significance as it was being held in the somewhat terrorism-infected area, and PDP chief Mufti Mohammad Sayed was to address it. Preparations for the rally had been made days ahead. However, the PDP cancelled the meeting at the last moment on Wednesday when few people turned up to give audience to PDP leaders.

A senior PDP leader told the Hindustan Times that the terrorists had threatened attack if "we went ahead with the rally". "They had also issued threats to the people and organisers", he said adding "security of the people is supreme so we cancelled the rally". The sources in the PDP said that the police too had not cleared Mufti's visit to the village for security reasons.

PDP leadership is aghast over the development as terrorists had been soft on them as against other mainstream political groups. The opposition National Conference has been accusing PDP of having won the last assembly elections with the open support from terrorist groups. Some PDP leaders would also make no bones about their "contact" with terrorists. A statement by Mufti Mohammad Sayed, in a public rally in Ganderbal, soon after he took over as the chief minister in 2002 that terrorists don't need to carry on with the guns as their representatives have made it to the state assembly was widely cited by the National Conference as testimony to "PDP-Terrorist bonhomie".

The valley has been witnessing a flurry of political activity by mainstream groups over the past one month. The opposition National Conference held a massive public rally in Srinagar on April 28. The PDP, Congress and Peoples' Democratic Front too have held big public rallies in various parts of the valley.

The separatist political camp, however, allege that the government has put curbs on their activities. Police foiled the attempt of JKLF chief Mohammad Yaseen Malik to take out a state-wide journey, which he named as "safar-e-azadi" on May 6 by taking him into custody. Malik is planning to undertake the journey again on May 20. He has threatened hunger strike for an indefinite period if he was again stopped.

Four leaders of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference have been arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for holding a rally at I'd Gah in Srinagar on April 22. The rally, which witnessed a massive participation of people, was held to receive Geelani on his return after a successful operation of his cancer-infected kidney in Mumbai. Police also prevented Geelani from holding a press conference on April 30 by throwing a siege around his house and the adjoining locality of Hyderpora.

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