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Shutdown in IHK as Indian forces continue crackdown on Hurriyat leaders

Shutdown in IHK as Indian forces continue crackdown on Hurriyat leaders
February 28, 2019
SRINAGAR (KMS) – In Occupied Kashmir, a complete shutdown is being observed on the second consecutive day on Thursday against Indian crackdown on the residences of Hurriyat leaders and workers, the ongoing mass arrest spree and possible tinkering with the Article 35-A of the Indian constitution. Call for the strike has been given by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. All shops, other business establishments and government and private offices are closed, while public transport is off the roads all across the valley. Indian troops have been deployed in strength at most places in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Kashmir Valley. Mobile Internet speed is also reduced in the territory. Earlier, in a massive crackdown operation hundreds of freedom leaders and activists including JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and members were arrested across the Valley.
Mirwaiz calls for de-escalation of tension
Hurriyat Forum Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has urged India and Pakistan to de-escalate tension and not resort to war as escalation and war can never resolve the issues. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, in a statement issued in Srinaga, said that the present dispensation at New Delhi was using Occupied Kashmir as a whipping boy for electoral gains as general elections in India are round the corner. He said that there is a threatening and grave atmosphere created by India across the Occupied Valley and people are being psychologically intimidated. Only talking to each other is the way forward, he added. He said that keeping in view this wave of repression and intimidation coercive raids were conducted at the residences of resistance leadership including Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Naseem Gilani by the infamous National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday. He said: “The NIA team also raided my house from 8am to 6pm. A cordon was laid around my house by a large number of paramilitary forces.” He said around 15-20 people from the NIA, accompanied by two local policemen, entered his house and office and thoroughly searched it. He said “The houses of my relatives who live around me were also searched. After these thorough coercive searches, certain items were confiscated by the NIA team including my laptop and phones, hard drives from my office computers, press releases of Hurriyat and Anjuman Auqaf Jamia Masjid letterheads and records of Kashmiri students studying in Pakistani medical colleges recommended by Hurriyat forum.” He said the threats of removing Articles 370 and 35 A—which grant special status to Jammu and Kashmir—are kept hanging over our heads like a Damocles’ Sword to be used as and when the electoral situation for them demands”.