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Separatist leaders put under house arrest ahead of anniversary of execution of Afzal Guru


New Delhi:The authorities on Monday beefed up security across Kashmir Valley and detained or put under house arrest several separatist leaders including Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmad Shah on the eve of the third anniversary of execution of Parliament attack case convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.

The Hurriyat Conference has called a strike tomorrow on the third anniversary of hanging of Guru, and on February 11 to mark the anniversary of execution of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) founder Mohammad Maqbool Butt.

CRPF too has put all its units across Kashmir Valley on high alert in view of the strike calls. While Guru was hanged on February 9, 2013 inside Tihar Jail in Delhi, Butt was executed on February 11, 1984.

JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, along with his party colleagues Ashraf Bin Salam, Ghulam Mohammad Dar and Mushtaq Ahmad were taken into preventive custody at Abi Guzar in the heart of the city after the outfit took out a march, officials said.

The officials said Shah, who heads Democratic Freedom Party, and several other separatist leaders were placed under house arrest in an attempt to scuttle protests. The chairmen of rival factions of Hurriyat — Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — are in Delhi while another separatist leader Nayeem Khan left for Mumbai on Monday, the officials said.

Kashmir Mass Movement, a constituent of hardline Hurriyat, staged a protest at Press Colony against the hanging of Guru. Six activists of the group headed by Fareeda Behanji were briefly detained, the officials said, adding that measures are being taken to maintain law and order.

“All CRPF establishments and units have been put on high alert in view of strike and protest call given by all factions of Hurriyat and all the separatists on February 9, 10 and 11,” a CRPF spokesman said in a statement here.

CRPF DIG (Operations), Srinagar, Sanjeev Dhundia reviewed the security situation and asked officers and jawans to remain vigilant, and to take adequate measures to prevent injuries to force personnel.

“A few weeks back, a grenade was thrown at CRPF troops amid stone pelting in Saraf Kadal area of Down Town, but luckily the grenade didn’t explode,” the spokesman said.

“All CRPF camps have been alerted and security has been strengthened and troops have been briefed to be ready to deal with any unforeseen law and order problem, without use of lethal weapons,” he added.

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