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Senior Hurriyat leader arrested in Kashmir

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
September 04, 2008 22:42 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir police on Thursday arrested Masarat Alam Bhat, the spokesman of the joint co-ordination committee of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. Bhat had been evading the police since the past fortnight.

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Reportedly acting on a tip-off, the police arrested Alam from near Lal Chowk today evening.

The police had raided several places in the last 15 days, in an attempt to arrest the second rung of separatist leaders, who played a key role in organising the recent protests and marches.

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Alam was the spokesman of the coordination committee which comprised representatives from both factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

He represented the Geelani faction of the APHC in the coordination committee.

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So far, dozens of separatist leaders and protestors including Shabir Shah, Asiya Andrabi and Mohammad Ashraf Sahrai have been detained by the police under the stringent Public Safety Act.

Three frontline separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik, who were released by the state government earlier this week, have now been placed under house arrest.

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In another development, Geelani has announced his intention to offer Friday prayers at the historic Hazratbal Shrine on Friday, if allowed by the police.

Hazratbal Shrine has been traditionally a bastion of the mainstream National Conference.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar