Kashmir shuts down on Maqbool’s anniversary


Srinagar, Feb 11: Kashmir Valley observed a daylong shutdown on Saturday to mark the 22nd death anniversary of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, the founder of pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Shops, business establishments, government offices, banks and other institutions remained closed in this summer capital of the state and other major towns of the Valley in response to the shutdown called by JKLF and other groups including Hurriyat Conference.
Streets wore a deserted look with very few vehicles plying.
A group of activists belonging to Shabir Ahmed Shah’s Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) staged a protest march as they shouted slogans demanding the right to self-determination and freedom while marching towards the office of UN Military Groups for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).
Maqbool Bhat, the JKLF founder, was hanged in New Delhi on February 11, 1984, on the charge of killing Ravindra Mhatre, an Indian diplomat in Birmingham, England. He was later buried in the jail premises.
The Kashmir Bar Association last July filed a petition in the state High Court seeking a direction to bring back the mortal remains of Maqbool Bhat from Tihar jail. The JKLF has also been demanding the return of his mortal remains.
“Bhat is the initiator and inspiration of our freedom struggle. Today we demand that his remains be returned to his family and the people of Kashmir,” said Yasin Malik, the chairman of the JKLF.
The DPF chief Shabir Shah also urged the Indian authorities to allow people of the Kashmir to bring back the remains of Maqbool from Tihar jail to here.