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Saturday, July 11, 2015

BJP Ministers to boycott government's Martyrs Day function

All separatist leaders being detained; curfew to be imposed in Srinagar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jul 10: Even as Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government is understood to start detaining all the prominent separatist leaders from later tonight and enforce curfew to thwart their "joint march" to Mazaar-e-Shuhada, STATE TIMES has learned from highly placed political sources that none of the BJP leaders or Ministers would participate in the government’s ceremonial function in the summer capital on July 13.

Sources revealed to this newspaper on Friday that partner in the ruling coalition, BJP, would "boycott" the traditional official function at Naqashband Sahab shrine, which would be attended by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed alongwith almost all his PDP Ministers and senior party leaders. As per a decades-old ritual, top government functionaries would pay floral tributes to the 21 martyrs, who fell to the bullets of Maharaja Hari Singh's armed forces outside Srinagar Central Jail on July 13, 1931, and were buried on the premises of the reverred Muslim shrine of Naqashband Sahab, between Jamia Masjid (Nowhatta) and Dastgir Sahab shrine of Khanyar.

While as the Ministers and senior government officers offer Fatiha at the remembrance ceremony, contingents of Jammu and Kashmir Police perform guard of honour.

The massacre, during the course of a massive protest against prosecution of a political detainee Abdul Qadeer by Maharaja's government, led to a political upheaval and provided a platform to the National Conference (previously christened as Muslim Conference) founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah to end the Dogra monarchy with the dawn of the Partition in 1947.

Sources revealed to STATE TIMES that the State BJP leaders did strategically arrange a meeting in New Delhi on July 12 as it provide them an excuse to stay in the Union Capital and skip the Martyrs Day function on July 13. While as Speaker Kavinder Gupta and some BJP leaders from J&K arrived in New Delhi today, all the party’s Ministers---including Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh----besides other prominent legislators and leaders would be reaching New Delhi on Saturday.

The brainstorming session on awareness, membership drive, AIIMS agitation in Jammu and performance assessment of the BJP Ministers, is scheduled to start at Kedharnath Sawhny Sabha Nagar, near MCD Civic Centre, Minto Road, Ram Leela Maudan, at 9.30 a.m. on Sunday. It would end at 6.00 p.m same say. BJP's President Amit Shah would preside over the conclave.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Mufti has fixed an Iftar Party at Hotel Ashok on the same evening. Many of the New Dehi-based politicians, from almost all the parties including BJP, are being invited by CM's Secretariat. Sources said that Mufti would return to Srinagar early next day to attend the Martyrs Day function. DGP K. Rajendra Kumar and Chief Secretary Iqbal Khanday would also attend the meeting.

Even as the BJP Ministers insisted to remain noncommittal, party's spokesman for J&K Khalid Jehangir said: "Yes, this Martyrs Day function in Srinagar means nothing for BJP. Since the government and its PDP Ministers do never hold or attend a function in remembrance snd honour of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, none of us is going to participate in it. But I know only about the leaders and workers. Ministers would themselves decide whether to boycott or attend it".


Meanwhile, well-placed sources in the State government revealed to STATE TIMES that the Police would launch a crackdown and start detaining all the prominent separatist leaders from later tonight. Some of them would be picked up and lodged in Police Stations while as others would be placed under "house arrest". Those being detained include Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Maulvi Abbas and Bilal Lone. Some of the separatists have been already put in detention. "All these separatist leaders will remain under detention for the next three days", said a senior Police official.

Sources said that in view of the successive Fridays disturbance at Jamia Masjid, particularly today's stone pelting on Police and waving of the Pakistani and ISIS flags, alongwith pro-Pakistan slogans by some people, authorities decided to impose curfew in all areas of downtown Srinagar, including Maisuma, on Monday. They said that over 50 of the "potential troublemakers" had been already lifted from different places and detained at Police Stations to ensure trouble-free Martyrs Day celebrations.

Meanwhile, in a host of statements pouring in from almost all the political parties, leaders have severely condemned Mufti government's crackdown on the separatists. Significantly, for the first time after Hurriyat Conference's split in 2003, Valley’s separatist leaders----including Geelani, Mirwaiz, Yasin and Shabir--- have decided to lead a joint mass march to Naqashband Sahab cemetery on the Martyrs Day.