Thousands mourn Hurriyat leader’s death, Mirwaiz appeals for calm

August 12th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  


Srinagar, Aug 12 (IANS) Thousands of mourners led by senior separatist leaders joined the funeral procession of the slain Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz who was buried at the Martyrs’ graveyard in this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday afternoon. Aziz was killed along with four others Monday while leading a huge procession towards Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in an effort to neutralise the valley’s economic blockade

Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik led the mourners’ procession that started from the Jamia mosque in the old city area.

The separatist leaders, who were under a house arrest, were let out by thousands of protesters who broke the security cordon around the houses and freed them.

Addressing the procession at the graveyard, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq appealed to the people to remain calm and not to resort to violence in any case.

“Don’t damage public property, this is our own property and we should not make any attempt to damage it,” he said.

He also announced that the four-day mourning for the slain leader shall end Aug 15 after which the Hurriyat leaders would announce their future programme.

The funeral procession passed off peacefully although there was a lot of slogan shouting and ostensible anger among the processionists.

The authorities had ensured free passage to the procession issuing strict orders to the deployed troops to maintain restraint at all cost.

The valley has been witnessing violence reminiscent of early 1990s since Monday.

Five people were killed in violent protests across the valley Monday while nine people were killed Tuesday in paramilitary firing on unruly mobs.

More than 300 people, including civilians and policemen, have been injured here since Monday.

For the last two months, both Jammu region and the Kashmir Valley have been locked in unparalleled strife along communal lines over the transfer and subsequent revocation of 40 hectares of land in north Kashmir to the Amarnath board that manages the pilgrimage to the shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.

This burning issue has set off an inexorable wave of protests, shutdowns and violence first in the Kashmir Valley, then in Jammu — and now back in the valley - paralysing the state.

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