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Police disallows public debate on SASB
SRINAGAR, Nov 10: Police today disallowed seminar called by the Hurriyat Conference (G) to gather public opinion about the possible counter to the “limitless authority” granted to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) in the state.

Since early morning, the police and CRPF, led by several senior officials, sealed off the conglomerate’s Hyderpora headquarters where the seminar was scheduled to take place. Large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed in all lanes and by-lanes in the neighborhood of the venue, and the Airport road—the main route to the headquarters. The area presented a garrison-like look.

The Hurriyat (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was kept under house arrest with a larger-than-routine contingent of the forces deployed outside his residence, which is next to the headquarters.

The forces turned away every lawyer, intellectual, civil society member or journalist going towards the venue, besides office bearers, members and activists of Hurriyat (G).

“The security set-up made me feel the war has broken out between India and Pakistan without my knowledge…,” the spokesman of Hurriyat (G), Ayaz Akbar, said while talking to Kashmir Times, “I waited for half an hour for the police officials to let me in, but they did not allow me.”

The unsuccessful seminar was conglomerate’s first overt move against the SASB since the demands for its dissolution and handing over of the control of the yatra to local Pandits. The participants’ suggestions and recommendation were to be considered by Majlis-e-Shoura of the conglomerate for drafting of the future course of action.

Hurriyat (G) has already constituted a public-contact committee to consult the civil society over the issue. Its constitution followed the conglomerate’s claim that the material was dumped around the Cave Shrine for construction of road and concrete structures in near future.

The conglomerate displayed to press the photographs suggesting that the state government has, in fact, already, and despite opposition from separatists, started the constructions. The pictures were later emailed to the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, when he refused to buy Hurriyat (G)’s argument.

This is now the second seminar in the month, involving Hurriyat (G), foiled by the police. Earlier, police foiled a seminar called at the same venue by Muslim League—a component of the conglomerate—to commemorate the Muslims victims of the 1947 Jammu massacre.

Strongly criticizing the police action, Geelani described it as “the worst example of state terrorism” presented by New Delhi “which boasts of democracy and freedom of expression”.

“On one hand New Delhi is boasting of democracy and freedom of expression, and on the other hand military might is used to suppress the voice against issues and oppression…,” he said in a press statement issued here.

“Earlier we were not allowed to conduct public rallies, but now they do not even allow us to meet inside the rooms. The state is under complete control of the forces,” he said.

The 82-year-old separatist, however, said he conglomerate would not give up its programme, and that public meetings and distribution of pamphlets would be continued for spreading awareness among the masses.

He ridiculed the state government “for trying to be more loyal than the king.”

“Use of force by New Delhi is understandable, but the state government is doing anything it can to stay in power,” he said.
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News Updated at : Sunday, November 11, 2012
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