Geelani warns Govt against ‘victimization’ of employees
Shutdown fails but SHO-advocate clash gives Hurriyat chief some ‘cause of action’
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Like in the last one month, Geelani-sponsored shutdown today was a flop show as official, civilian and commercial transport operated in entire Valley and most of the shops, business establishments, banks, government offices and educational institutes functioned normally. However, a large number of shops in Civil Lines in
remained closed. Still, over a hundred shops were sighted either fully open or partly shuttered. Like on normal days, there were traffic jams in the capital city, including in the separatist bastion of downtown Srinagar . Srinagar
Today’s defiance of Geelani’s call---as also that of ten days in the last five weeks---was in sharp contrast to the complete shutdown Kashmir had witnessed for about four months in the middle of the current year. Four months of Geelani’s “Quit Jammu & Kashmir Movement” finally came to a dramatic end with the arrest of Muslim League leader, Massarat Alam Bhat, on October 18th.
Desperately awaited thaw for the government came with the arrest of nearly 1400 “stone pelters”---one thousand of them in the capital city alone---but not before the death of 111 civilians in Police and armed forces action, injuries to 4,000 civilians and even number of Police and CRPF personnel in street clashes and burning of public properties worth over Rs 100 Crore. Reacting to traffic jams on the days of his call for “civil curfew”, Geelani last week alleged at a news conference that the government had “purchased” the transporters to fail his shutdowns.
A day after IGP Kashmir said that all 135 government employees, allegedly involved in stone pelting and mass demonstrations, were being arrested and subjected to prosecution, Geelani said in a statement that those “pursuing a cause for their nation” would not be left in the lurch. He described “victimization” of the government employees as the “worst form of state terrorism”, warned Government against initiating any such action and declared that his conglomerate would strongly support any programme to be issued by the trade union leaders. He asserted that the government employees were part of their society and could not be expected to stand away from their national cause.
Geelani said that Government of India, in tandem with the state Government, was exercising the “same old policy that has miserably failed” with regard to dealing with the political turmoil. He also disputed IGP’s revelation that this year’s street agitation was a changed tactics of the militants. Geelani argued that statements and disclosures extorted from the detained Hurriyat activists like Ghulam Mohammad Tantray of Sopore were neither credible nor tenable in any forum of justice.
Referring to manhandling of an advocate, Babar Jan Qadiri, allegedly by SHO Ganderbal, Inspector Arshid Khan, at Police Station Ganderbal on Friday, Geelani said that it was yet another example of the “state terrorism”. He said that the advocate had visited the Police Station only to seek release of one Bashir Ahmed Qureshi. Quresi, according to him, was a Hurriyat leader and an Islamic scholar. Geelani said that the SHO assaulted the lawyer without any cause and left him “profusely hurt and bleeding”. He said that Hurriyat would soon work out a strategy, in consultation with intelligentsia, to prevent “such acts of state terrorism”.
While SHO Ganderbal was not available for his reaction to Geelani’s allegation, SP Ganderbal, Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, said that Police Station of Ganderbal had registered case Fir No: 176 of 2010 dated 26-11-2010, under section 353 RPC (assault on a public servant) against advocate Babar Jan Qadiri. Quoting text of the FIR, SP Ganderbal said that the advocate had barged into the Police Station and threatened him to release a detenue, Bashir Ahmed Qureshi. He revealed that a resident of Tangdar and working as Imam of a mosque at Wanbal in
, Qureshi was a member of Islamic Students League and he had been lately appointed as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s district incharge for Ganderbal. Srinagar
Qureshi, he said, had been arrested in Kangan on the day of Eid-ul-Azha after SHO himself heard him making a highly objectionable, anti-national speech. While the remand granted by an Executive Magistrate in Kangan was about to expire, Police brought him to Ganderbal to seek extension in remand from a judicial magistrate. As the detenue and the Police party were about to leave for a local court, advocate Babar Jan appeared and asked the SHO to release Queshi. “You are our own brother. Don’t act like an Indian dog”, advocate is said to have told the SHO when he refused to oblige him.
SP Ganderbal maintained that the advocate assaulted the SHO and made good his escape but independent sources insisted that there was a “verbal clash and brawl” between the advocate and the SHO who were seen abusing and beating up each other. While the advocate called the SHO “an Indian dog”, the SHO called the former “a Pakistani dog” and pounced upon him. Both residents of
, the SHO and the advocate fought in full view of public and threatened to teach each other a lesson. Srinagar
Sources said that a judicial court today released Qureshi on bail but members of Bar Association filed a complaint before Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar who directed IGP Kashmir to register a criminal case against the accused SHO under section 307 RPC (attempt to murder). IGP has sought a detailed report in the matter from Police Station Ganderbal.