World Bulletin / News Desk
Indian-held Kashmir on Monday observed a shutdown in protest against the supposed crackdown on pro-self-determination and pro-independence members and leaders by the Indian authorities ahead of the region's April 29 vote in the parliamentary elections
The Indian police have been accused of either placing Kashmiri activists under house arrest or sending them to prison to prevent them from campaigning for a boycott of the upcoming elections.
However, the police refuse to acknowledge the detentions, but a senior police officer told an 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.'
The streets of Srinagar were deserted throughout the day as shops stayed shut and public transport was not functioning.
Most government and private offices also closed because of the shut down while India's armed forces were deployed across the region.
The call for the shutdown came from the octogenarian leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who had been under house arrest for most of 2013 and after arriving in Srinagar on April 16 from New Delhi was immediately put back under house arrest.
Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Ahmad Khan, two other senior separatist leaders, have also been placed under house arrest while pro-independence leader and chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Mohammad Yasin Malik, has been detained in a police station in Srinagar. Another resistance leader Mushatq-ul-Islam has been detained in a police station in Batamalo.
“The Indian administration became afraid of the election boycott campaign and detained all the leaders,” Hurriyat leader, Khan has said.
While Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for Geelani’s Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party has said that "during this farcical exercise of Indian democracy, India is stopping us from reaching out to people and then they will claim they had fair elections."
3 killed before voting
Three men killed in occupied Kashmir region on Monday, police said, claiming attacks appeared intended to intimidate locals who are due to vote in a general election this week.
The execution-style attacks targeted two village council heads in the Anantnag district in the broad Kashmir valley to the south of Srinagar.
The police and army launched a combined operation to find the gunmen blamed for the attacks.
"Two village headmen are among three persons killed ahead of polls in South Kashmir's Anantnag constituency tonight," Deputy Superintendent of Police Pervaiz Ahmad told Reuters.
"Village headman Mohammad Anwar Sheikh of Amlar Tral was killed at around 9 p.m. while in another village, Batgund Tral, a village headman, and his son were shot dead by militants," he said.
In a similar attack on April 17, Mohammad Amin Pandith, the head of another village council in the Anantnag constituency, was shot dead by an assailant wearing army uniform who lured him out of his house.
"He was targeted to make a threat to the whole area (so that) people cannot be active in the election process," his brother, Abdul Rahim Pandith, told Reuters.
"There are people here who support freedom (for Kashmir) - they want to boycott the election."
Following the killing, 25 local councillors in the area resigned their posts.
Last Mod: 22 Nisan 2014, 10:18