Geelani’s aide arrested in Kashmir

September 5th, 2008 - 6:32 am ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 4 (IANS) A top aide of Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested here Thursday evening for organising pro-freedom rallies during the protests in the valley. Geelani’s right hand man Masarat Alam Bhat, who is spokesman of the joint co-ordination committee of both factions of the Hurriyat Conference spearheading the pro-freedom marches, had been evading arrest since Aug 24 when police started a manhunt against the separatist leaders.

A senior police officer confirmed Bhat’s arrest.

“On a tip off, a police party stopped an auto rickshaw and arrested Bhat who was travelling in it,” the officer told IANS.

Bhat is chairman of the separatist Muslim League, one of the constituents of the hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani.

The police officer said Alam was involved in organising recent protests.

Several top separatist leaders and protesters have been detained in the valley during the past two weeks.

Shabir Shah, chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), Asiya Andrabi chief of women separatist group, Dukhtaran-e-Milat, and Muhammad Ashraf Sahai, a close confidant of Geelani, have been held under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik who were released by the police Monday have been placed under house arrest.

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