Protest against alleged desecration of grave                         

                      Special Correspondent


Iftikhar Gillani mentioned in his book that Butt's grave did not exist in Tihar jail




                                           — Photo: Nissar Ahmad 
STRONG FEELINGS: Supporters of the Hurriyat Conference take out a procession in Srinagar on Tuesday protesting against alleged desecration of the grave of Maqbool Bhat, co-founder of the JKLF.                             


SRINAGAR: : Kashmiri separatist leaders on Tuesday staged a hunger strike on the premises of the Lower Court complex here protesting against the alleged desecration of the grave of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder, Maqbool Butt, in Tihar jail.

Organised by Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party president Shabir Ahmad Shah, a number of leaders, including hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Kashmir Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Forum president Javid Ahmad Mir and president of the Muslim League Mushtaq-ul-Islam, joined him.

Condemning the Government for the act the leaders demanded handing over of the mortal remains of Butt who was hanged in Tihar Jail and later buried there on February 11, 1984. Several constituents of the hardline Hurriyat faction also took part in the hunger strike attended by over 200 separatists.

Carrying banners, placards and portraits of Butt, they assembled on court road and took out a procession to the venue of the strike. Mr. Shah recently sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the matter.

"Reports about the desecration of Butt's grave have deeply hurt the sentiments of Kashmiris," he said. The Delhi-based Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gillani who had been in the Tihar Jail for 10 months mentioned in his recently-published book that Butt's grave did not exist in the jail now.