The officials said that about 70 of over 2o0 militants killed since the launch of ‘Operation All-Out’ were foreigners, mainly Pakistanis.
Srinagar: The security forces on Friday enforced curfew or curfew-like restrictions in parts of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar and southern Anantnag town to thwart a separatists’ ‘long-march’ on Anantnag.
The alliance of key-separatist leaders-Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik- had issued “Anantnag chalo’ call to the people to pay homage to more than 200 militants killed by the security forces during a tough counterinsurgency campaign and also show their solidarity with their families. It had also planned a rally at Anantnag’s main square-Lal Chowk.
‘Operation All-Out’ was launched jointly by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the J&K police, the Army and the CRPF earlier this year in the face of a large number of local youth turning to the gun.Lt. Gen. JS Sandhu, the outgoing Corps Commander in Srinagar, termed the killing of such large number of militants as a “big achievement against terrorists and their organizations” whereas J&K’s director general of police, Shesh Paul Vaid, had said that the ‘Operation All-Out’ would continue till the remaining couple of hundred militants active across Kashmir too are ‘neutralised’.
However, the security forces have at the instance of Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, and following the Union Home Ministry’s endorsement offered “all possible help” in living normal lives to local Kashmiri militants who give up the gun and surrender before them. DGP, Vaid, recently said, “We are after foreign terrorists. At the same time, we want to give chance to local boys to surrender”.
He said that half a dozen local militants including a young footballer surrendered before the police or Army after their families asked them to return home in past few weeks.
The officials said that about 70 of over 2o0 militants killed since the launch of ‘Operation All-Out’ were foreigners, mainly Pakistanis. Most of the local slain militants belonged to South Kashmir comprising the districts of Annatnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama. To pay homage to the slain militants and show solidarity with their families and other victims of violence, the separatist leaders’ alliance ‘Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL)’ had asked people to march to Anantnag on Friday.
But the security forces arrested or detained several separatist leaders and activists and also enforced security lockdown in Srinagar parts and Anantnag ahead of the long-march to foil it. The train services in the Valley were suspended, the examinations scheduled for Friday postponed and the Internet services in Anantnag snapped “as a precautionary measure.”
In the afternoon, the Mirwaiz was detained by the police after he came out of his besieged house in Srinagar’s Nigeen area and tried to march on Anantnag. Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference second-rung leader Hilal Ahmed War too was detained along with some other activists on way to Anantnag. Earlier, the police had arrested Malik and lodged him in Srinagar Central Jail.
The authorities said that the restrictions under Section 144 CrPC were imposed on parts of Srinagar and Anantnag to maintain peace and avoid harm coming to public life and property in view of the separatists’ call.
The JRL in a statement denounced the curbs saying “the puppet government, once again, resorted to use of unbridled force to bar the leadership and people from marching to Islamabad (Anantnag) and convening a peaceful rally at (its) Lal Chowk to express solidarity with the people of South Kashmir”.
Earlier before being detained by the police outside his residence, the Mirwaiz told reporters, “Repeated curbs restrictions arrests and detentions of leadership and activists are a classic case of colonial attitude like that of the British against the occupied people of the Subcontinent with the help of local stooges. The only difference is that it’s far worse and harsher than that and more sinister”.