The World Human Rights Day was observed in Kashmir on Thursday with demonstrations, rallies, torchlight procession and seminars even as authorities put a number of separatist leaders under house arrest as a preventive measure.

In a significant development, both separatists as well as mainstream political parties demanded an end to the human rights violations in the State.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik led hundreds of torch-bearing protesters from Chanpora to Lal Chowk in the city centre. He appealed to the world human rights bodies to take cognizance of “gross human rights violations in Kashmir.”

Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman Shabbir Shah said he was put under house arrest since Wednesday night to prevent him from attending a seminar organised by the Kashmir Bar Association and holding peaceful demonstrations highlighting “severe human rights violations” in the State.

“On Wednesday evening a large number of security force personnel were deployed outside my residence and I was informed not to try to venture out,” Mr. Shah said.

A Hurriyat Conference (M) spokesman said senior leaders Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Gani Lone, and Masroor Ansari were put under house arrest since Wednesday evening.

The police also put several other separatist leaders, including Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Zafar Akbar Bhat, under house arrest. Some other rights activists were also arrested.

The Mirwaiz said “violations” continue unabated in the State. He termed the presence of troops as the “root cause.”

“Until there is a complete withdrawal of troops from the State, the human rights violations would go on,” he said.

He also demanded an impartial probe into the ‘enforced disappearances’ and the ‘unmarked graves’ in the State.

The police prevented the JKLF (Rajbagh) from taking out a procession. JKLF men led by Javed Mir surfaced near Abiguzar here, and a police contingent prevented them from marching ahead and arrested over a dozen activists and leaders.

The Kashmir High Court Bar Association held a seminar at the lower court complex here, to highlight the human rights situation.

Meanwhile, Abdur Rashid, a sitting legislator from Langate in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district filed 24 cases, involving 33 killings, before the State Human Rights Commission here.

He also demanded compensation for 168 days of ‘forced labour’ for himself and 6,000 families, spread across 39 villages in his constituency.

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