Kashmir shuts in memory of Hawal massacre victims
Srinagar, May 21: Authorities on Tuesday foiled Eidgah rally called by Hurriyat conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq by imposing resections in old Srinagar.
A shutdown was observed across Kashmir to pay tributes to Hawal massacre victims, late Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and late Abdul Gani Lone.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had appealed people to observe complete shutdown and assemble peacefully at Eidgah here. Hurriyat (M) had planned to hold a public rally in which participation of a large number of people was expected.
Police confined Mirwaiz to his home at Nigeen while scores of other leaders were detained in police stations. Besides putting curbs in and around the old Srinagar, authorities sealed the Eidgah graveyard.
Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in areas of old Srinagar coming under six police stations that included MaharajGunj, Nowhatta, SafaKadal, Khanyar, and Rainawari. Reports said that heavy contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force were deployed at most of the places in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir to thwart any march or protest demonstration.
Reports reaching here from most parts of Kashmir said that shops, business establishments, remained closed.
Reports of shutdown were received from Baramulla, Kupwara, Handwara and Bandipora towns of north Kashmir.
Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq, Umar’s father, was shot dead at his Nigeen residence on May 21 May, 1990. Later paramilitary personnel fired at his funeral procession at Hawal in Srinagar, killing all but 72 mourners. Ever since, his religio-political outfit Awami Action Committee has been observing martyrs week that culminates on May 21.
Every year Mirwaiz would lead mass prayers at Eidgah, Kashmir’s largest graveyard for martyrs. During one such gathering in 2002, unidentified gunmen shot dead Abdul Gani Lone, a senior voice in the Hurriyat Conference. Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference observes anniversary of both leaders and others killed in the firing at the funeral. But for past many years the authorities did not allow separatists to observe mass prayers at Eidgah.
Hurriyat Conference (M) castigated the government for continuing with what they called the dictatorial practices of its predecessors to appease its mentors and conceal the reality of Kashmir by imposing declared and undeclared curfew in the valley