Ahead of polls, Police cracks down on separatists

Malik, Shah, Nayeem, Akbar, others taken into custody

Police Thursday arrested at least a dozen separatist leaders and activists from different areas of the summer capital in a bid to halt their election boycott campaign. The arrests triggered massive protests.
In raids during the day, the cops arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik, his deputy Advocate Bashir Ahmad Bhat; Chairman Hurriyat Conference JK Shabir Ahmad Shah; Chairman National Front Nayeem Ahmad Khan; Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar and senior separatist leaders, MoulanaTari and Zaffar Akbar Bhat.
Some separatist leaders, including MukhtarWaza and Javid Mir, were not present at their residences during the police raids, sources said.
The police action on separatists comes ahead of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir beginning November 25. Most of the leaders have appealed people to boycott the polls. These include Chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik, Chairman Hurriyat JK, Shabir Ahmad Shah, and others. Geelani continues to remain under house arrest.
Malik along with Bhat were arrested from their makeshift JKLF office at AbiGuzar here and lodged at Kothibagh police station.  As the news of Malik’s arrest spread in his Maisuma locality, hundreds of his supporters took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations. The protestors pelted stones at cops who retaliated with tear-gas shells and baton-charged the youth to disperse them. Malik was also detained earlier this month, ahead of Eid-ul-Adha prayers at AbiGuzar while he was preparing to hold an anti-election rally.
Police also arrested secretary general JKLF GhulamRasool Dar Eidi, deputy organizer Mir Siraj-ud-din Davood, district president Kupwara Muhammad Rafiq War, district president BudgamGulzar Ahmad BhatPahalwan, district secretary KulgamNazir Ahmad Rather, activists Muhammad Jammal Dar and Abdul AhadGanai from Tangmarg.
Police also raided the residences of JKLF district president Ganderbal Bashir Ahmad Rather (Boya), Mushtaq Ahmad KoregGanderbal, Habib-ullah Dar at IllahiBagh and others.
Dozens of other pro-freedom activists were also arrested. According to a Muslim League spokesman, police arrested party office bearers including Feroz Ahmad Khan, Bashir Ahmad Wani, Hakeem Showkat, Asadullah Parry and Mairaj Din Nanda. He said that police also raided the house of ML leader Abdul Ahad Parra.
Reports of police raids on residences and offices of separatist parties poured in from different parts of Kashmir.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, AbdulGhani Mir told Greater Kashmir they will take strong action against people trying to disrupt the polls. “Nobody will be allowed to disrupt the poll process,” he said, adding that “preventive action is being taken and very strong action will be taken against those elements trying to intimidate people.”