Separatists in Jammu and Kashmir call for referendum march on Pakistan's Independence Day
The wary Jammu and Kashmir government has beefed up security across Kashmir to prevent the situation from worsening. (Representative Image) Photograph: (AFP)
Separatists are bracing for a major showdown with the Mehbooba Mufti-led government as they called for grand celebrations to mark Pakistan's Independence Day on August 14 in India's northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Joint Resistance Forum, an amalgam of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik have called for a referendum march to Lal Chowk and offering special prayers for the stability of Pakistan after every prayer session (namaz) on August 14.
Separatists have identified scores of places where they plan to hoist Pakistani flags on Sunday. People have been asked to march with Pakistani flags and celebrate Independence Day with great fanfare.
Even militant outfits have jumped on the bandwagon calling for grand celebrations on Pakistan Day. "Pakistan can't celebrate its Independence Day when Kashmir is burning and its people are suffering," said Mehmood Shah, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief for Kashmir.
The wary Jammu and Kashmir government has beefed up security across Kashmir to prevent the situation from worsening. "We have made all arrangements for ensuring safety and security of the people of the Valley", said a top government officer.
Jammu and Kashmir police have launched a massive crackdown against the stone throwers and separatists across Kashmir. More than 1,000 people have been taken into custody and some of them have been slapped with Public Safety Act (PSA) to send a signal that nobody will be spared for fomenting trouble.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has withdrawn broadband services in most places bringing curtains on the limited internet services in the Valley. The government has already imposed a curfew by suspending mobile internet services.
What has worried the security establishment is the call for observing India's Independence day as Black Day on August 15.
"From 7:00 am onwards block all the roads towards and around the place of celebration of Indian Independence Day; District development commissioners are asked not to hoist the Indian Flag in any part of the Jammu and Kashmir. Raise black flags on your houses, shops, market centers and local chowks wear black dresses or black bands on this day", said the spokesman of Joint Resistance Forum.
Director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir, K Rajendra Kumar said close liaison should be maintained at every level to foil any attempt by troublemakers to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere.
"To foil any attempt by the troublemakers to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere, close liaison should be maintained at every level and the officers supervising different components should be briefed accordingly. The comprehensive security grid and deployment mechanism for conduct of peaceful celebrations needs to be fully implemented", he said while chairing high level security meeting.
During the meeting threadbare discussions were held with regard to deployment and maintenance of law and order in the Valley during the celebrations.
"It was told that sufficient man power has been earmarked for the security of the venues, where the ID functions are scheduled to be held. Installation of CCTV cameras and security gadgets at the venues, intelligence gathering and preventive measures to check the activities of anti-national elements were also discussed", said a police spokesman.
Meanwhile, another youth who was injured during firing incident succumbed at hospital taking the death toll to 57 since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
Police said the situation remained by and large peaceful throughout Kashmir valley although six incidents of stone pelting were reported from Bandipora, Baramulla and Srinagar on Saturday.
Police said restrictions under section 144 Code of Criminal Procedure remained in force across the Valley, however, curfew was imposed in Srinagar and Anantnag town only.
Police said two police personnel were seriously injured when miscreants disrupted the traffic movement and pelted stones on police and security forces at Ashtingoo Bandipora.
"They were referred to Srinagar. One of them has been seriously injured in the eye and has been shifted for advance treatment to Delhi", the spokesman added.