Hayat Bhat, the face of Valley protests, arrested

Separatist leader Hayat Bhat, whose fiery speeches marked major street protests in Srinagar’s Soura area against the Centre’s move to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, was arrested on Wednesday.

“Bhat was arrested from Soura’s Anchar area on Wednesday morning. He is a history-sheeter who was involved in repeated crimes. He faced Public Safety Act (PSA) more than two times in the past,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police V.K. Birdi told The Hindu.

Police sources said the operation to detain Bhat was on for several days. The police used both technological and human intelligence to arrest the elusive leader, who lived in Anchar area. The police team in civvies managed to located and arrest him. He has been booked for “subversive” activities, the police said.

According to the police, Bhat was involved in 16 cases pertaining to law and order disturbances in Valley.

Anchar, Bhat’s hometown, remained out of bounds for security forces since August 5 as locals had dug up roads and set up barricades to stop the movement of security forces. Every Friday anti-India protests are being held in the area. Local youth also maintain night vigil to keep security personnel at bay.

“Violence and oppression has yielded nothing in the past and will not achieve anything in the future too. Hatred against India is on the rise in Kashmir. Dialogue is the only way forward,” said Bhat in his last public speech, made at the Jenab Sahib shrine recently.

Bhat, once a close associate of incarcerated Muslim League chief Masarat Alam, became the face of Valley protests when he led street rallies on August 6 and 7 from Soura's Jenab Sahib shrine. The police said he was the brain behind the mobilisation of people in the area. These protests were widely covered by the international press.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 6:26:09 PM |

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