Separatist leader Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested in Srinagar on Friday amid protests against the proposal to grant citizenship rights to refugees from West Pakistan settled in the Jammu region. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman led a protest march in uptown Maisuma locality of Srinagar after the Friday prayers. “Police detained Yasin Malik and some of his supporters as they tried to violate Section 144 CrPc in force in the city. He has been taken to Kothibagh police station,” a senior police officer told.
Police have invoked Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to prohibit any gathering of four or more people in the area. Stone pelting youth engaged police in pitched battles in the area after Malik’s arrest. No serious injury to either the police or the protesters was reported during the clashes that have now subsided. Thousands of refugees belonging to Pakistan migrated to the Jammu region during 1947, 1965 and 1971 wars between India and Pakistan.
A joint parliamentary committee set up recently to look into their problems recommended for them all citizenship rights and rights to vote in the state assembly elections. In an anomaly, the refugees were allowed to vote in the country’s parliamentary elections, but not in the state assembly elections. (IANS)