Geelani, Mirwaiz held on eve of Kashmir separatists’ march (Lead)

August 25th, 2008 - 10:23 am ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 25 (IANS) Two senior leaders of the separatist Hurriyat Confrence, hardliner Syed Ali Geelani as well as moderate Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, were arrested here on the eve of their proposed march to city centre Lal Chowk Monday. Authorities here are tight-lipped about where the two senior separatist leaders have been lodged after they were arrested form their homes late Sunday night.

The decision to arrest the two leaders was taken Sunday at a high level security meeting chaired by the state governor N.N. Vohra, official sources here said.

The two senior separatist leaders have been arrested and removed from their homes for the first time in nearly seven years.

Geelani was last arrested and moved to a jail in the Jharkhand capital Ranchi in December 2001.

“What you call the routine drill of keeping these gentlemen under house arrest where they freely received guests and visitors who would be shown in by armed guards provided to them by the government has been broken now,” a senior intelligence officer told IANS here.

Even as an indefinite curfew continued across the Valley Monday, unprecedented security arrangements have been made here to thwart the march planned by separatists Monday.

The army, that had been deployed Sunday to assist the local police and paramilitary forces seal off all entry points to this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, has now also been deployed at many sensitive points inside the city, though in small numbers.

“This is just symbolic, to add to the deterrence of the prohibitory orders,” a senior police officer told IANS here Monday.

After their massive show of strength at Eidgah grounds on Friday where tens of thousands of locals assembled to respond to the separatists’ call, the Hurriyat Confrence has planned a massive sit-in at city centre Lal Chowk Monday to internationalize the Kashmir dispute.

“We won’t allow any such thing to happen and they know it now,” said a senior police officer here.

Reports reaching here from all other nine district headquarters in the Kashmir valley - Badgam, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kupwara - also said the indefinite curfew continued there without any relaxation and the security forces had clear instructions not to allow any marchers to proceed from there to Srinagar.

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