Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Javed put out copies of a letter addressed to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, asking him why she has been detained at her home and is not allowed to meet anyone. In the letter, Iltija asked if it is a crime to speak for her people.
In his speech, Malik said: “In the last 70 years, common people of the state had deviated from basic issues of development, peace and prosperity. Instead of paying attention to these issues, people were misled by issues which had no meaning in their life.
Independence Day in Kashmir: “We are ready for the main function tomorrow. It will be held in Srinagar where the national flag will be hoisted by the Honourable Governor. In Jammu, the celebrations will be led by the Advisor to the Honourable Governor,” Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal said.
Although prohibitory orders were relaxed to allow people to offer prayers, the security lockdown and downing of communication lines continued for the eight consecutive day. Police and paramilitary personnel had placed barricades on all roads and there were strict curbs on movement of civilians.
“We are quiet but don’t misunderstand our silence as surrender,” says Altaf Ahmad, 38, a resident of Noorbagh in Sopore. “This silence is strategic. They want us to react. But we know; it is a long battle ahead.”
With TV channels and newspaper reporters limited to a small perimeter in Srinagar, news from other parts of the Valley, both from north and south, and even peripheries of the city, is only trickling in through patients and their attendants travelling to Srinagar hospitals.
The Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, usually packed with patients and attendants every night, now receives a trickle. Its corridors and wards are more or less empty and ambulances are stationed outside, in a row.
Engineer Rashid was being questioned by NIA for more than a week in relation with the case, where it is alleged that Kashmiri separatists received funds from Pakistan, including from LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, to foment trouble in the Valley.
The joint forum, formed by the bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal’s Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement and Engineer Rashid’s Awani Ittihad, has said it is ready to “erase its identity and existence” if all the political parties join hands.
As the joint team were zeroing in on the target house, militants hiding in the village opened fire, triggering a gun battle. In the encounter that lasted several hours, the two JeM militants were killed.