World Bulletin / News Desk
Over two dozen separatist and pro-Pakistan political leaders and workers have been arrested in Indian-held Kashmir by the Indian authorities, a senior police officer, who requested anonymity, confirmed.
Some of those rounded up were said to have been put under house arrest while others have gone to prison, as the capital of Indian-held Kashmir, Srinagar, and other constituencies go to the polls April 30 in India’s national elections.
Those arrested have supposedly advocated boycotting the elections as it is held under the Indian constitution that they refuse to accept and ask instead for the right to self-determination under UN resolutions.
The senior police officer told the Anadolu Agency correspondent that the arrests had not been made because of polls but because of law and order situations and that these people were considered to 'foment trouble.'
Among those arrested was Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the octogenarian Kashmiri leader and head of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, who arrived on Wednesday from New Delhi where he had been taken for treatment and immediately on his arrival he was put under house arrest.
Geelani, who demands the right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir and is one of the strongest opponents of the Indian elections in the area, has already been under house arrest for most of the previous year.
"Geelani Sahib was put under house arrest as soon as he reached here. During this farcical exercise of Indian democracy, India is stopping us from reaching out to people and then they will claim they are having fair elections," says Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for Geelani’s Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party.
Senior Hurriyat leader Nayeem Ahmed Khan has also been placed under house arrest.
Meanwhile, police have reportedly raided the house of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman, Yasin Malik, imprisoning him in the Kothibagh police station. Yasin was one of the first militant commanders of Indian-held Kashmir who put down weapons and opted instead for a non-violent struggle against the Indian rule.
Police have also arrested Hurriyat leaders Zafar Akbar Bhat and Mushtaq-ul-Islam, as well as several separatist political workers from villages and small towns across the region.
However, the police refuse to accept that the arrests have taken place and abstain from commenting about their men blocking the gates of the arrested leaders.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held jointly by India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in Indian-held Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far.Last Mod: 18 Nisan 2014, 11:04