Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Hurriyat Chairman Syed Geelani detained by Indian police

SRINAGAR: Indian police on Wednesday arrested Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was on Wednesday detained by police after he tried to defy restrictions and march to Martyr’s graveyard in Srinagar.

Geelani, who was under house arrest, was detained by the police on the airport road outside his residence in uptown Hyderpora after he defied restrictions and tried to take out a march towards the Martyrs graveyard to commemorate the 85th anniversary of those who laid down their lives fighting the Aristocratic rule in the state in 1931.

Geelani was detained by the police outside his residence as he tried to defy restrictions, a police official said. He said some other leaders of the Hurriyat were also detained by the police.

According to media reports, a few other Hurriyat leaders were also arrested with Geelani. On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a high-level emergency meeting to discuss escalating tensions in Indian-held Kashmir amid anti-India protests that have left at least 28 people dead.

The protests followed the killing on Friday of Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest rebel group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), during a gun battle with government forces.

Hizbul Mujahideen is one of the several groups that have for decades been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence. Around 300 people have been injured, including nearly 100 police, and hospitals say they are overwhelmed. Most victims suffered gunshot wounds or teargas inhalation.

According to the police, the death toll from street violence had reached 28, after three young men died overnight. Scores of civilians and troops have been injured in the clashes. The fresh wave of violence has sparked a diplomatic spat between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan summoned on Monday India’s high commissioner to lodge a formal protest over human rights violations in the disputed region following the killing of Burhan Wani, the 22-year-old commander of Hizbul Mujahideen militant group. But New Delhi was quick to dismiss Islamabad’s protest as ‘interference in its internal affairs’.

Indian-administered Kashmir continues to seethe since the killing in a police encounter of Wani, who was a known poster boy for the Kashmir separatist movement. Violence in the disputed territory has since claimed almost 30 lives. Pakistan strongly condemned Wani’s extrajudicial killing and has sought investigations into his and other civilians’ deaths in the disputed valley.

In a knee-jerk reaction, India warned Pakistan late Monday not to meddle in its ‘internal matters’. In March, Geelani suffered a “minor heart attack” and was admitted to a hospital in New Delhi. “It was a minor heart attack. Thank God, he is stable now,” spokesperson Ayaz Akbar told media. Akbar said Geelani, 86, was admitted to the Max Hospital in Saket, Delhi where he was “recuperating fast”.

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