Total Pageviews

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Ex-militant shot dead in Sopore, 5 militants killed in Gurez

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 18: Even as Army claimed to have killed at least five militants of a group of eight infiltrators in Gurez area of northern Kashmir on Friday, suspected militants shot dead a former militant of Jamiatul Mujahideen and left hus four-year-old son critically injured in Sagipora village in Sopore-Handwara belt.

Informed sources told STATE TIMES that two unidentified youths, suspected to be militants, slowed down their motorcycle and fired pistol shots on 37-year-old Bashir Ahmad Bhat s/o Ghulam Mohammad Bhat while he was returning to his home from a shop at Sagipora, bordering Baramulla and Kupwara districts, on Sopore-Handwara road at around 7.00 p.m.

Bhat as well as his four-year-old son Burhan sustained critical injuries. Both were evacuated and rushed to Sub District Hospital of Sopore. However, Bhat succumbed to injuries before reaching the hospital. The child was referred to SKIMS Soura for specialised treatment. Doctors attending Burhan said that they performed a surgery but the child's condition was critical.

Officials described Bhat as a released militant of Jamiatul Mujahideen who had been working as small time contractor and had also a small fruit business. No militant group had claimed responsibility of his assassination till late on Friday night.

Residents said that the gunmen escaped but a hand grenadefell from their motorcycle which was later seized by Police.

Meanwhile, Defence Spokesman at headquarters 15 Corps of Army, Lt Col N.N. Joshi, said that troops intercepted a group of heavily armed infiltrators in Kanzalwan area of Gurez, close to the LoC, around midnight last. He claimed that five militants were killed by Friday evening even as search was still underway for other members of the group. An Army official said that it was an eight-member group of freshly launched infiltrators. Five AK-47 rifles are claimed to have been recovered from the site of operation.

Senior Police officials told STATE TIMES that five infiltrators were believed to have died in the gunbattle. However, bodies had not been recovered or handed over to Police till late on Friday night.


ISIS, Pak flags again at Srinagar Jamia Masjid

Dukhtaraan-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi arrested

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 18: Holding separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani under "house arrest" and detaining Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson Asiya Andrabi and General Secretary Fehmeeda Sofi in a previously registered FIR did not prevent a crowd from waving ISIS and Pakistan flags on occasion of the Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar.

Official sources said that Geelani was not allowed to move out of his Hyderpora residence as the authorities feared he could create some turbulence with his statements and actions ahead of the festival of Eid-ul-Azha. Police raided Ms Andrabi's residence in Soura area and arrested her, alongwith her organisation's second-in-command Fehmeeda Sofi, in an FIR registered against them earlier this year for hoisting Pakistani flag and singing Pakistan's national anthem.

Those booked in identical matters include Massarat Aalam who has been rearrested and Geelani who has not been arrested till date. The Dukhtaraan-e-Millat leaders were arrested for the first time on Friday since Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s taking over as Chief Minister on March 1st this year. Sources said that Andrabi and Sofi were lodged in Women's Police Station at Rambagh. Police were likely to obtain remand from a court for their detention and custodial interrogation.

Friday afternoon congregational prayers went on smoothly at Jamia Masjid. However, groups of youths shouted anti-India, pro-Pakistan and pro-Azadi slogans while the people were coming out of the mosque. They waved ISIS and Pakistani flags besides portraits of Jamiat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Sayeed, Jaish-e- Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar and Hizbul Mujahideen's youth icon Burhan Wani.

Ding-dong clashes took place between the separatist demonstrators and Police at four places, including at Jamia Masjid, in downtown Srinagar.

Reports of similar ding-dong clashes came in from Anantnag township of South Kashmir.


Friday, September 18, 2015

SHO attached for 'kidnapping' Law Secretary to Police Station 

DGP ordered action after Law Minister Basharat Bukhari set two-hour deadline, threatened to shut office at Civil Secretariat

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, Sep 17: SHO Shaheed Gunj was removed from his posting and attached to District Police Lines Srinagar on Thursday after Law Minister Syed Basharat Bukhari alleged that he had 'kidnapped' Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir from Civil Secretariat to Police Station and threatened to shut his own office if Police failed to take "necessary action" within a deadline of two hours.

Sources associated with the crisis management at Civil Secretariat revealed to STATE TIMES that a Traffic Policeman on duty outside the Civil Secretariat entrance stopped Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir's official car---a white colour Honda City----and signalled its driver to proceed towards Batmaloo, while preventing him from entering the Secretariat premises, at around 10.00 a.m. As the driver was pleading with the Constable that he was carrying an administrative Secretary to his office on usual duty, SHO Shaheed Gunj Inspector Nissar Ahmad Hurra rushed to the spot, dragged the driver out, snatched away his keys and whisked away the vehicle to Police Station.

Law Secretary resisted and asked why he was being waylaid but the SHO did not relent until he dropped him at Police Station Shaheed Gunj. The vehicle was seized and Mr Mir asked to go wherever he wanted to. He called a private vehicle which ferried him to his office. He brought the episode to the notice of Home Secretary and Law Minister Bukhari. The Minister took a strong notice and communicated to DGP K. Rajendra Kumar that he would shut his own office and call a press conference if the SHO was not shifted from the Civil Lines and attached within two hours.

Senior Police officials were initially disinclined to take any action or apologise to Law Secretary. However, when they learned that the Minister was going to file a complaint with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, they swung into action and rushed to the Civil Secretariat. Mr Bukhari made it clear to them that the matter could not be resolved with their apologies. He insisted that Police should remove the SHO from his posting and attach him immediately. Thereafter, on DGP's direction, SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar issued Order No: 2721 of 2015. Vide this order, Inspector Hurra was attached to DPL Srinagar and a departmental inquiry was ordered against him. Probationary Dy SP Zohaib Hassan was appointed as SHO Shaheed Gunj.

While Law Minister Bukhari's cellphone was switched off, Law Secretary Mir said: "Traffic constable was telling my driver that we couldn't enter Secretariat as CM's cavalcade was about to pass by the entrance. As the argument was going on between the Traffic cop and my driver, SHO came rushing, dragged my driver out, snatched away his keys and began driving my car towards Shaheed Gunj. His PSO with AK-47 also boarded. As I asked the SHO where he was taking me, he maintained that we would soon come to know about our destination. He dropped me at the Police Station, seized the vehicle and asked me to go wherever I wanted to. Thereafter I returned by a private vehicle".

Mr Mir told STATE TIMES that he met Home Secretary and Law Minister with his complaint. "Later, IGP Kashmir visited and apologised on behalf of Police. The crisis was resolved with the attachment of the SHO and an inquiry was ordered against him", Mr Mir said. He said that DGP too cajoled him on phone.

IGP Kashmir Javaid Mujtaba Gilani confirmed that Inspector Nissar Ahmad Hurra was attached to DPL Srinagar and a departmental inquiry was initiated against his conduct. He, nevertheless, refused to admit that the SHO had kidnapped the Law Secretary. "Chief Minister's cavalcade was about to pass. For security reasons, Police don't allow any vehicle to block its way. There was reportedly some argument and the car was driven off to the Police Station. We have attached the SHO and ordered an inquiry", IGP Kashmir told STATE TIMES.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Kashmir shuts over Pattan killings

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 16: Kashmir valley on Wednesday observed near-total shutdown over the separatists' call to protest the mysterious killing of the three suspected militants in Pattan area of Baramulla district on September 14.

Severely tortured and bullet-riddled bodies of the three teenagers-----Naveed Ahmad Sheikh s/o Mohammad Rajab Sheikh r/o Batpora Sopore, Aamir Ahmad Rishi s/o Ghulam Qadir Rishi r/o Imbarzalwari Payeen Hardushiva Sopore and Ashiq Hussain Wani s/o Mohammad Ramzan Wani r/o Lolipora Pattan-----had been recovered from Pattan area on Monday.

According to Police records, the youths were missing from their residences respectively since October 2014, July 2015 and June 2014. All the three were believed to have joined Hizbul Mujahideen but subsequently aligned with Najar and purportedly his front organisation Lashkar-e-Islam. Their bodies were spotted and recovered from an orchard between near Dangarpora village.

Even as all the militant groups and separatist leaders, with the exception of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, remained mute spectators to recovery of the three bodies, Police claimed that the slain youths were estranged members of Hizbul Mujahideen who had lately sided with Qayyum Najar'sgroup. Only Mirwaiz in the separatist camp and the ruling PDP President Mehbooba Mufti among all mainstream politicians had condemned their killing on Monday.

However, on Tuesday, Hizbul Mujahideen, followed by all the separatist leaders claimed the three teenagers as 'freedom fighters', alleging that their "cold blooded murder" was the handiwork of the Special Operations Group of Jammu and Kashmir Police. Hardline Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for State-wide shutdown on Wednesday. His call was supported by Hizbul Mujahideen and almost all the separatist leaders.

Reports said that traffic was off the road and most of the shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed for the whole day in almost entire Kashmir valley. Police and residents said that minor clashes took place between thin groups of youngsters and Police at three places in downtown Srinagar. Nobody was reported injured.

Attendance was remarkably thin in government offices as commercial passenger services did not operate and almost all the major towns and district headquarters in the valley wore a deserted look. It was distinctly different from the poor impact of the separatists' shutdown calls witnessed until beginning of the current year.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Separatists break silence on Pattan mysterious killings, call for shutdown

Hizb claims slain youths as its cadres, blames Police for their 'custodial killing' 

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 15: Breaking their silence on the assassination of three suspected militants in Pattan area of Baramulla district on the day after, formidable militant group Hizbul Mujahideen and the Valley’s separatist leaders have blamed Police for the "custodial killings" and called for a State-wide protest shutdown on Wednesday.

Among the separatists, Chairman of Hurriyat Conference's moderate faction Mirwaiz Umar Farooq alone had condemned the brutal killing of the three teenagers on Monday. Others, particularly Hizbul Mujahideen and hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani had maintained sustained silence, raising speculations and buttressing the Police version that the slain youths were members of the Hizbul Mujahideen rebel Qayyum Najar's group killed by Hizbul Mujahideen. None of the militant or political groups, except Mirwaiz, had condemned the triple murder or called for a protest shutdown.

However, almost all these groups on Tuesday broke their silence, paid tributes to the slain youths and called for a protest shutdown on Wednesday. One more body surfaced in Kunzar area of Tangmarg today but residents as well as officials asserted that the deceased was a mentally challenged civilian.

Hizb spokesman Saleem Hashmi said on behalf of the organisation's supremo Syed Salah-ud-din in a statement: "Amir Reshi, Ashiq Ahmad and Naveed were activists of Hizbul Mujahideen and they had joined our organisational ranks recently". He added: "The trio were active members of the (Hizbul Mujahideen) outfit and were killed in custody".

According to the handout, Salah-ud-din disputed the Police version and claimed that the slain youths did not belong to Lashkar-e-Islam. He claimed that no such guerrilla organisation existed in Jammu and Kashmir.

Terming the Pattan killings as "brutal and barbaric", Geelani called for “Kashmir Band” on Wednesday. He said that even if nothing was clearly known about these killings "but on seeing the circumstances and the ways of the killing, we cannot rule out the hands of the government forces into the incident". 

Geelani termed the police statement as "a presumption based on guess, in which they had tried to link this incident to the rivalries within the Mujahideens". 

"He said that all the Muhajid organizations had condemned this incident and they have also termed it as unjust murder and custodial killings so that this incident can’t be blamed on any one without any proof. Geelani Sahab said that there can be small differences and arguments between the Muhajideen but they cannot go to this extent and they can’t be so brutal. These types of actions are the trademark of the occupational forces of India who have murdered ten thousand Kashmiris youths in their custodies so far and have subjected 10 thousand others to the custodial disappearance", the statement said.

"Geelani Sahab further said that it is our permanent stand that respect to the human life is the priority and an innocent human killing is equal to the murder of the whole humanity and saving the life of any human being is equal to saving the whole humanity. Hurriyat Chairman said that whatever the motives and reasons would have been behind the brutal killing of four youths in Pattan areas, but these types of incidents occur due to the forced occupation of India in Kashmir. The state of Jammu & Kashmir is suffering from political uncertainty and instability due to the Indian occupation and the loss of precious human lives is unabated here", it added.

Similar statement paying tributes to the slain militants and holding the Police responsible for their "custodial killing", was issued by Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson Asiya Andrabi.

Geelani’s shutdown call was seconded by Hizbul Mujahideen, Hurriyat's Mirwaiz faction, prominent separatist leader Shabir Shah and JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

3 suspected militants found dead in Pattan

Geelani’s silence leads to speculations that the young men have been killed in Hizbul Mujahideen's factional feud

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 14: Missing from their respective homes in northern Kashmir for some time and believed to be working with Hizbul Mujahideen’s rebel group led by Qayyum Najar of Sopore, three suspected militants were found dead in an orchard in Pattan area of Baramulla district on Monday. Even as one-odd condemnation poured in from Mirwaiz Umer Farooq's faction of the Hurriyat Conference, other separatist leaders----most notably hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani----chose to remain tightlipped, raising speculations that the three youths have died in Hizbul Mujahideen's factional feud.

Authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that Police and the residents recovered three human bodies from an apple orchard between Such and Dangarpora villages on Pattan-Nihalpora Road on Monday afternoon. Eyewitnesses said that all the three bodies bore physical torture marks besides AK-47 gunshots. However, there were no empties around the spot, making it clear that the youths had been killed at some different place and their bodies had been subsequently dropped in the orchard, around 8 km from Pattan.

Ending hours of mystery and confusion, Police got the slain youths identified as Naveed Ahmad Sheikh s/o Mohammad Rajab Sheikh r/o Batpora Sopore, Aamir Ahmad Rishi s/o Ghulam Qadir Rishi r/o Imbarzalwari Payeen Hardushiva Sopore and Ashiq Hussain Wani s/o Mohammad Ramzan Wani r/o Lolipora Pattan. According to Police records, they were missing from their residences respectively since October 2014, July 2015 and June 2014. All the three were believed to have joined Hizbul Mujahideen but subsequently sided with Najar and his Lashkar-e-Islam.

Naveed, doing B. Tech with a University in Chandigarh, had gone into hiding in autumn of 2014. Originally from Ashtengo Bandipore, he lived at Batpora Sopore with his mother and her second husband Ghulam Hassan Khan.

Deputy Inspector General of Police in North Kashmir, Gareeb Das, maintained that the slain youths appeared to be the militants of a rebel faction of Hizbul Mujahideen. He said that Police had registered a criminal matter and started the investigation.

Reports said that immediately after the seizure of bodies, some youths levelled allegations of custodial killing against the security forces and clashed with Police and CRPF at three places on Pattan-Baramulla Road. Spokesperson of Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat faction was quick to strongly condemn the three killings. However, as soon as the bodies were identified and the word spread that the youths could have been killed by the Hizbul Mujahideen’s principal faction led by Salahuddin, demonstrators withdrew silently.

Significantly, neither Geelani nor any other separatist hardliner reacted to the mysterious triple murder. None of the militant or separatist organisations called for a protest shutdown till late on Monday night. This was an indication of a factional feud between militants in North Kashmir. A section of officials insisted that Hizbul Mujahideen had begun to crush the rebellion challenging authority, credibility and relevance of the pro-Pakistan leaders like Geelani and Syed Salah-ud-din. In a statement earlier this year, Hizb chief had expelled Najar and held his loyalists guilty of innocent civilian killings. His statement claimed that Lashkar-e-Islam, which had launched a campaign to shut mobile telephony with guerrilla strikes, was not a bonafide militant organisation.

Senior Police officers were appalled at the reports that the three youths----in age group of 17 to 20 years----had been kidnapped, carried to a long distance, apparently tortured and shot dead at one unknown place and their bodies were finally dropped at another place without being noticed by Police and security forces. They revealed to STATE TIMES that according to recent reports, a fresh group of 15 to 18 militants of Hizbul Mujahideen had set up base in Pattan-Tangmarg belt. In entire Baramulla district, only one encounter took place in the current year at Hardushora Tangmarg where both the holed up militants escaped while killing one SPO and a soldier.

"This fresh group is still dormant. It has the capacity to strike but doesn’t attack Police or security forces as its priority is to establish a strong and wider network before going proactive. We have strong reasons to believe that the same group has eliminated three of Qayyum Najar's cadres today and two more in the last two months----one each in Sumbal and Sopore", said a well placed official.


(Published in today's STATE TIMES and the blog )

Monday, September 14, 2015

Final copy

Big Marathon disrupted at Kashmir University campus

Minister Sukhnandan forced to retreat amid clashes at international event attended by 15,000

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Sep 13: One of the largest attended sports events in Kashmir in the last 30 years, whis was organised by a Reliance subsidiary Big FM Radio, was disrupted by an assembly of students at the University of Kashmir campuses with pro-Pakistan slogans and flags on Sunday even as clashes continued for several hours and Police claimed to have booked and arrested around a dozen 'miscreants'.

92.7 FM radio network had organised the international event with a month-long publicity blitzkrieg on air and in newspapers while roping in over a dozen of the corporate sponsors and the State government’s department of Irrigation and Flood Control. Officials and the organisers claimed that over 20,000 Kashmiris of all age groups alongside scores of national and international athletes participated in the run. Independent estimates, however, put the number of the participants at 12,000 to 15,000.

Minutes after the Minister of Irrigation Sukhnandan Kumar, who attended as Chief Guest in absence of the Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, flagged off the marathon run, dozens of the youths, believed to be the University students, began shouting pro-Pakistan and Islamist slogans. Eyewitnesses told STATE TIMES that amid the slogans like "Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan", "Yahan kya chalega nizaam-e-Mustafa" and "Ham kya chahtè Azadi", the saboteurs vandalised the dais, besudes camopies and seating arrangements.

As the gathering fled the venue through Sir Syed Gate near the famous Naseem Bagh, police swung into action. Stone pelting, tearsmoke shelling and baton charge were witnessed at the flagging off venue besides Habak Crossing. Dal Lake's Northern Foreshore Road was the route for a 5-km Dream Run and a 21.5 km Technical Marathon. The run was aimed at promoting awareness about conservation of the endangered water bodies like Dal Lake and a healthy lifestyle.

Sukhnandan Kumar, Divisional Commissioner Asgar Samoon, Chief Engineer Irrigation Javaid Jafar and other senior government functionaries were forced to beat a retreat even as some of the senior officials like Secretary Tourism Farooq Shah had already left the venue.

Calls from his well-wishers, including one from Political Analyst in Chief Minister's Secretariat Waheed-ur-Reman Parra, held the Minister of Sports and Youth Services Imran Raza Ansari back from proceeding to the venue. Ansari held his schedule of flying to Anantnag with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for inauguration of another sports event. Others who were forced to change their schedule and stay away included National Conference President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. According to sources, Omar decided to stay at home after the SSG officers told him that the atmosphere at the University campus was "very much hostile".

Some of the sponsors said that Minister of Education Naeem Akhtar was also expected to attend the marathon. He too was absent when the campus turned into a battlefield.

One of the organisers told STATE TIMES that everything was going on smoothly till she noticed the first trouble in the morning after staying awake with the preparations overnight. "We held the show with a great success and enthusiasm which was all-pervading among the participants. It was an unprecedented, huge gathering. When we were about to start the prize distribution, some youths got up and disrupted the show", she said. However, one of the Police officials said on condition of anonymity that the signs of trouble were "clearly evident since last evening".

"We heard pro-Pakistan and separatist slogans intermittently throughout the night. Even CID had logged a message and advised that all precautionary measures needed to be kept in place", the Police officer said.

"It was a great initiative to convey to the world that Kashmir was calm and enthusiastic for tourism. But the disruption, which Police and other authorities failed to foresee, has made the whole event counterproductive", said an official. "With such demonstrations and mayhem all around, who would like to visit Kashmir?", asked he.

An official release said: "The race was flagged off as scheduled and the function was going on smoothly till some miscreants within the crowd started passing obscene and lewd comments at girl participants and those in the audience. The incidents of passing remarks were also witnessed at Habbak crossing. Instances of molestation of girls by rowdy elements were reported at the Kashmir University and en-route. FIRs have been registered into the incidents of molestation and eve teasing at PS Nigeen and 12 miscreants involved in molestation and eve-teasing have been arrested so far".

SP Hazratbal Rayees Mohammad Bhat added: "The event was well intentioned. The gathering was big. There were children and families as well. The organisers had planned 2 events. The international length 21km marathon was scheduled to start at 6.30 a.m. The Run for Fun was scheduled for 8.30 a.m in which many VIPs and officials were to participate. But few boys started passing obscene comments at girls even before flag off. After flag off similar incident was reported at Habbak where police intervened and few boys were arrested. This in turn led to stone pelting from the crowd of youth".

"After this when the race was won by 3 foreigners, the youth started vandalising the University and organiser's property besides hurling bottles of water and steel rods taken from banners. Police displayed maximum restraint as families and kids were part of the audience. The miscreants were isolated and driven out of the university", SP Hazratbal said. "Many such miscreants first ran the race and participated in all functions and then said that these gatherings are against culture and religion!", SP said. Another Police official added that the "miscreants" attempted to set a police crane on fire at Habbak Crossing". It, he said, triggered off fresh violent clashes.


Over 12,000 attend LeT militant's funeral in PDP stronghold

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 13: Allegedly involved in dozens of attacks on security forces and several civilian killings, including the killing of 8 soldiers on the eve of former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba's top wanted militant Irshad Ganai was buried amid pro-Pakistan slogans in his village of Padgampora in Pulwama district on Sunday. He had died in an encounter with security forces and Police near Kakpora last evening.

Residents and some separatist leaders claimed that 25,000 tp 30,000 people participated in Ganai's funeral. However, independent reports put the number of the participants as 12,000 to 15,000. A J&K Police agency also reported that it was a gathering of 12,000 to 15,000 people----the biggest for a militant in recent times and several years. Padgampora is a village in the ruling PDP stronghold of Pulwama, in South Kashmir.

"1000's attend a LeT militant's funeral in Padgampora, Kashmir (I heard 20k-30k). Still believe an economic package is the solution, do you??", National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.

Separatist hardliner and Chairman of the radical faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani addressed the huge gathering on telephone from his residence in Hyderpora where Ganai and other LeT militants had ambushed an Army convoy and killed 8 soldiers in 2013.


Kashmir up in arms against beef judgment

With separatists planning turbulence during shutdown, Srinagar put under undeclared curfew

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Sep 11: Even as the principal mainstream parties PDP, National Conference and Congress remained tightlipped, all the separatist organisations including some mainstream politicians in Kashmir valley have rejected the Jammu and Kashmir High Court's order asking Director General of Police to strictly enforce the year 1862 law that bans cow slaughter across the State.

In a PIL filed by advocate Parimoksh Seth last year, a Division Bench comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Rak Kotwal had on September 8th directed DGP to ensure strict enforcement of Section 298 of Ranbir Penal Code that makes cow-slaugh liable to 10 years of imprisonment and fine upto five times the cost of the slaughtered animal. Even the consumer under this law has to undergo imprisonment for one year.

Around 500 beef shops are believed to be illegally operating in the Valley as Police and other law enforcement agencies have rarely booked a defaulter.

Dismissing the court order, as also the 1862 law of Maharaja's government, as "not acceptable" and "an intervention into the religious matters of the Muslims", Valley’s political and religious leadership made it unambiguously clear that cow-slaughter and the beef consumption would continue in violation of any law or court order. Separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani has already called for a total shutdown in Kashmir on Saturday to register a strong protest against the High Court order.

Authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that the authorities have decided to enforce "restrictions"----euphemism for undeclared curfew----in half of the summer capital on Saturday. Densely populated Srinagar downtown areas, falling under the jurisdiction of seven Police Stations would remain closed for usual traffic and pedestrian movement.

With the tension mounting, University of Kashmir authorities suspended all the examinations scheduled for Saturday.

Head of a faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson Asiya Andrabi stole the limelight with their hard-hitting statements against the interim order passed by the court. They invariably maintained that cow-slaugh and beef consumption were 'Halal' (permitted) in Islam and no government could ban it, particularly so in a Muslim-dominated State.

Even the mainstream parties run by the prominent Communist leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and Hakeem Mohammad Yasin (both sitting MLAs) opposed the High Court order and called for immediate revocation of the beef law.

Official sources said that at several places in Srinagar and other district headquarters, thin groups of demonstrators staged protest. Cows were publicly slaughtered at eight different spots in the Valley "as a mark of protest". Even in a marketplace beside Iqbal Park, all the six beef selling shops were open in Srinagar. Reports said that Police remained a mute spectator and did not take action against a single defaulter anywhere in Kashmir valley.

Authorities here fear a fresh turbulence, including communal and regional polarisation in the State as the conflict is resting on bovine. While the Muslims in Kashmir contend that beef is very much "Halal" and permitted by Islam, some of the Hindu groups have been crusading for blanket ban on cow slaughter and consumption of beef.

After the Friday congregational prayers, groups of people shouted slogans and engaged police in ding-dong clashes. Police and CRPF used tearsmoke and baton charge to disperse the thin unruly crowds. Officials said that none of the separatists was either detained or put under house arrest. However civilian sources maintained that at least five separatist leaders were under "house arrest".