In­dian po­lice ar­rest top Kash­miri sep­a­ratist for lead­ing demon­stra­tion

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY AI­JAZ HUS­SAIN

In­dian po­lice ar­rested a top Kash­miri sep­a­ratist leader on Fri­day for lead­ing an anti-In­dia demon­stra­tion and de­tained two oth­ers to pre­vent a planned protest in the Hi­malayan re­gion.

Masarat Alam was ini­tially placed un­der house ar­rest on Thurs­day night and then for­mally ar­rested Fri­day, po­lice of­fi­cer K. Ra­jen­dra said. The ar­rest came just weeks af­ter he was re­leased from five years in pri­son for or­ga­niz­ing anti-In­dia protests in 2010.

Po­lice also put two other sep­a­ratist lead­ers, Syed Ali Gee­lani and Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq, un­der house ar­rest to pre­vent them from lead­ing a planned march Fri­day to protest the killing of a mil­i­tant com­man­der’s brother in the In­dian-con­trolled por­tion of Kash­mir, Ra­jen­dra said.

The In­dian army said the man was killed in a gun­bat­tle along with a mil­i­tant on Mon­day, while his rel­a­tives and lo­cal res­i­dents said he was tor­tured to death.

Po­lice said Alam joined thou­sands of Kash­miris wav­ing Pak­istani flags at a rally in Sri­na­gar on Wed­nes­day and chanted “provoca­tive and sedi­tious slo­gans like ‘Long live Pak­istan’ and ‘We want free­dom.’” The rally was held to wel­come home Gee­lani, 85, who re­turned from New Delhi af­ter un­der­go­ing treat­ment for heart and kid­ney ail­ments for three months.

In­dian tele­vi­sion chan­nels re­peat­edly broad­cast scenes of the rally, trig­ger­ing out­rage by politi­cians in New Delhi. Fed­eral Home Min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh called Kash­mir’s top elected of­fi­cial, Mufti Mo­hammed Say­eed, and de­manded stern ac­tion against Alam.

Anti-In­dia sen­ti­ment runs deep in the In­dian-con­trolled por­tion of Kash­mir and is of­ten ex­pressed through street demon­stra­tions af­ter In­dian troops largely sup­pressed an armed up­ris­ing.

The dis­puted Hi­malayan re­gion is di­vided be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan. Res­i­dents of the In­dian-held por­tion strongly fa­vor in­de­pen­dence from In­dia or a merger with Pak­istan.

A num­ber of mil­i­tant groups have op­er­ated in the re­gion since the in­sur­gency erupted in 1989. An es­ti­mated 68,000 peo­ple have died in the fight­ing and an en­su­ing crack­down by In­dian forces.

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