Srinagar: The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday detained all separatist leaders here ahead of a rally called by them.
Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah, were placed under house arrest, a police officer said.
“This has been done as a preventive measure to maintain law and order ahead of a rally called by them tomorrow (Monday),” the officer said.
The separatists have called the rally to coincide with “Martyrs Day” which is observed to commemorate the martyrdom of 31 people who were killed in firing by troops of the then Maharaja in Srinagar in 1931.
Dozens of Kashmiri Pandits on Friday paid homage to civilians, Army men and their community members killed since 1989 and said the plight of Pandits still continues.
For 28 years, the Kashmiri Pandit community has been observing September 14 as ‘Martyrs’ Day-Balidan Diwas’ at B.K. Ganjoo memorial park in Central Delhi.
United Kingdom-based activist Shafalica Bhan Kotwal who has been fighting for the rights of the Kashmiri Pandits, said: “There is no major change in the lives of Kashmir Pandits, their plight still continues despite Bharatiya Janata Party being in power.
“Most of them were thrown out of their homes. They are living in pathetic conditions in shelter homes with no basic facilities.”
She said the community was once accustomed to living in minus 17 degrees Celsius. “Their families are now living in the hostile Jammu weather,” she added.
The son of Kasmiri Pandits’ leader Tika Lal Taploo, Ashutosh Taploo, was at the meeting. He said: “My father was killed not just because he was a Pandit..because he was looked as the Hindu community leader.”
Taploo said his father was the first Pandit to have fallen to terrorist bullets in the Valley.
“Till today no government has brought any major change in Pandits’ lives, the atrocities we experienced and psychological trauma we suffered is fresh” he said.
In a statement calling for justice to “victims of terrorism,” the Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora said a memorandum signed by thousands of Kashmiri Pandits has been addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and submitted to Union Minister Hansraj Ahir. (IANS)