SRINAGAR: Occupied Kashmir was hit by a general strike on Feb 9, Sunday called by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) to check the commemoration of the affliction of a man who was executed for purportedly participating in an assault on India’s parliament in 2001. The JKLF on Thursday called for strikes on Sunday and Tuesday to watch the commemoration of the execution of Afzal Guru, and afterwards that of its organizer Maqbool Bhat.
Shops and organizations were closed on Sunday, while there was little traffic on the streets in Srinagar and different pieces of the contested Himalayan locale. Indian soldiers raised iron blockades and laid barbed wire in parts of the district to square streets, with troopers armed to the teeth in full mob gear watching the lanes to forestall any fights, a government official said.
He said bad low-speed web, which was reestablished a month ago, had likewise been closed down as a prudent step. Last month, India’s Supreme Court rebuked the government for shutting down the internet and blocking telecommunications in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
On Feb 9, 2013, Guru was hanged after the Supreme Court upheld a verdict that he was involved in a 2001 attack on parliament. Most Kashmiris believe he was not given a fair trial, and his covert execution led to days of deadly protests in the occupied region, where anti-India sentiment runs deep. Maqbool Bhat was hanged in New Delhi’s Tihar jail on Feb 11, 1984, following his conviction for the killing of a police official.
Kashmiris demand that the two men’s remains, buried within the jail compound, be returned to the disputed region. Indian police have launched legal proceedings against JKLF for calling the strikes. The JKLF was banned by India last year as part of a massive clampdown in India-held Kashmir after an attack on Feb 14 in which 40 Indian troops were killed. Its offices were closed and main leaders, including its chairman Yasin Malik, were detained.
Meanwhile, police on Saturday summoned two journalists for questioning in Srinagar for reporting about the strike call issued by the JKLF. The Kashmir Press Club called it harassment. “It has become a routine with police to summon journalists for their reports,” said Ishfaq Tantray, the club’s general-secretary.
“It is an attempt by the law enforcement agencies to define new terms of journalism in Kashmir. They’re trying to define to us what we should report and how we should report,” he added.
At least 70,000 people have been killed in an uprising in occupied Kashmir and the ensuing Indian crackdown.
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