Ours was a peaceful programme to pay tributes to martyrs: Hurriyat leader

Strict restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar on Saturday to prevent Hurriyat Conference (moderate) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq from marching towards Eidgah to lay the foundation for a “martyrs' memorial wall.”

The Mirwaiz had announced that he would lay the foundation on the eve of the death anniversary of his father, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq, and another separatist Abdul Gani Lone.

Deputy Commissioner and Senior Superintendent of Police called on the Mirwaiz on Friday asking him to cancel his programme. But, he did not relent.

To prevent the Hurriyat leaders and other separatists from taking out a rally towards Eidgah, heavy contingents of police and CRPF personnel were deployed in sensitive parts.

At many places in the Old City, security forces stopped people from coming out of their homes and localities. On major streets leading to the martyrs' graveyard in Eidgah and the Nigeen residence of the Mirwaiz, security forces had erected barbed wires.

The police did not allow journalists to go to the residence of the Mirwaiz where he had called a press conference.

“Police state”

Commenting on the restrictions, the Mirwaiz said it had been proved that Jammu and Kashmir was a “police state” where there was no space for peaceful and democratic expression.

“It is unfortunate that the government has stopped us from gathering at the martyrs' graveyard. Ours was a peaceful programme aimed at paying tributes to our martyrs,” he said.

The Mirwaiz also condemned the police for preventing journalists from visiting his house.

Normal life hit

Normal life was disrupted in Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir valley following a bandh called by the Hurriyat and police restrictions in the Old City and other areas.