SRINAGAR: A proposed meeting of the Kashmiri separatist leaders to discuss the NIA raids was thwarted today by the authorities who detained all the participants.
The meeting was to take place at the residence of hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. However, the government deployed a posse of police personnel outside the house since the morning to prevent anyone from entering it, a police official said.
Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house arrest since late last evening to prevent him from attending the meeting, a Hurriyat spokesman said. JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was also taken into preventive custody and lodged at a police station here. Another separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah was also placed under house arrest.
The meeting was convened by the separatists to discuss the NIA raids on several of their second rung leaders as part of crackdown on funding street protests and businessmen suspected of carrying out hawala operations.
Later, in a joint statement, the separatists said not allowing them to hold meetings had become a "norm" for the state authorities who had to "keep up the farce of normalcy through repression at the bidding of their masters in New Delhi".
Referring to the NIA raids, the separatists claimed that these moves are to "intimidate and harass" their leaders and activists. The separatists called for a peaceful protest after the Friday prayers across the Valley against the "witch-hunt, coercion and intimidation of resistance activists, leaders and members of the business community".
They said, "The people will also strongly protest the Indian electronic media's propaganda war against Kashmiris and its shameless attempt to discredit their freedom struggle."