Where are pro-freedom Kashmiri leaders?

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Geelani’s Son-In-Law Seeks ICRC’s Intervention

JAVAID MALIK | Greater Kashmir, August 31, 2008

Srinagar, Aug 30: The continuous detention of pro-freedom leaders in Kashmir has left their families and general public worried as they want to know their fate.

Even their families have been denied access to meet them.

At least 100 pro-freedom leaders including chairmen of both the Hurriyat factions, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Muhammad Yasin Malik, senior Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah, chairperson of Dukhtarn-e-Millat, Asiya Andrabi and others have been arrested since Sunday, a day before scheduled Lal Chowk chalo march.
Altaf Ahmed Shah, son in law of ailing Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani told Greater Kashmir, “We’ve not been allowed to meet him since the day he was arrested. There were rumors about Geelani sahib not feeling well and he being admitted in SKIMS. There were even rumors about he was shifted to New Delhi for treatment.”

Shah said that after these rumors they approached the concerned Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Budgam and asked him to provide the whereabouts of the ailing leader. “He avoided us and refused to divulge the details,” he said.

Shah said that Syed Ali Geelani 78, is suffering from more than one serious ailments including cardiac problem, have only three fourth of kidney function and is asthmatic. He needs thorough medical check up on daily basis. “The criminal silence maintained by the authorities about his whereabouts and health has caused lots of worries to the family members and his party rank and file,” Shah said.
He said that he has filed a petition with head of the delegation of International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC) and has sought his intervention.

The secretary to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shahid-ul-Islam said that since Mirwaiz’s arrest authorities have not provided his whereabouts. “We’ve been running from pillar to post for knowing where he has been lodged but till now officials have not responded,” he said.

Islam said that authorities’ remaining tightlipped on Mirwaiz’s whereabouts is making party cadres and family members apprehensive about his safety. “All of us including people want to know where is Mirwaiz and how is he fearing,” Islam said.

Residents of Rajouri Kadal and other areas of Shehar-e-Khaas too seemed worried about the fate of Mirwaiz. “ What have they done to him?” asked Farooq Ahmed of Rajouri Kadal. “ If whereabouts of Mirwiaz, Geelani sahib and other leaders are not provided we will defy the curfew and take to the roads.”

Sister of the JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik said that after Malik was arrested policemen from Maisuma Police Station approached them and asked for his medicines.  “We asked them where has he been lodged, but they didn’t divulge any details.” “He is very much safe and sound. Don’t worry about him,” Malik’s sister quoted policemen as saying.

Residents of Maisuma expressed concern over authorities not providing the whereabouts of Malik and other pro-freedom leaders. “Why is Government maintaining silence?,” a  group residents asked.

Wife of senior Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “ After he was arrested cops came here and told us to hand over his clothes and medicines.”

She said that policemen told her that they cannot disclose his whereabouts. “We’ve got directions from New Delhi not to disclose where he has been lodged,” she said, adding,  “I hope he is fine. He is suffering from various ailments.”

However, daughter of Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar said that they were allowed to meet him and he has been lodged in Sumbal Police Station. “We asked the policemen under which section has he been booked, but they refused to divulge the details.”

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