इंडियन आवाज़     30 Nov 2023 03:55:44      انڈین آواز

Geelani right hand Masarat arrested

Ishfaq Ahmad Shah

SRINAGAR: Geelani-led ‘Quit Kashmir Movement’ Monday suffered a big jolt as Police finally arrested Masarat Alam Bhat, the key force behind the four-month stir that has so far witnessed 111 deaths mostly of children by state police and Central Reserve Police Force.

The 39-year-old Bhat had been evading arrest for past four months during which he took over as Geelani’s substitute and would release protest calendars and frequent video messages.

Police arrested the Hurriyat (G) General Secretary from the from Tailbal locality on the outskirts of Srinagar city in the evening. Inspector General of Police (Kashmir), S M Sahai told Rising Kashmir he was arrested alone.

As per the sources, Bhat’s arrest carried a cash reward of rupees 10 lakh.
A militant commander who has turned into a firebrand separatist, Bhat walked out of prison on bail on June 8, barely three days before the killing of 17-year-old student Tufail Ahmad Matoo in police firing which triggered the current unrest in the valley.
While most Hurriyat (G) senior leaders including party chairman Syed Ali Geelani were detained, Bhat went underground and took charge of the protest programme launching the “Quit Jammu and Kashmir Campaign” on June 25. He has played a key role in framing the Hurriyat (G) protest calendars.
Meanwhile, reacting to Bhat’s arrest, Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said, “Arrests and detentions are part and parcel of the freedom fighters. His arrest is painful as he was a resolute leader but the struggle will continue in his absence.”
Bhat had served 21 months in custody under the Public Safety Act — the law he’s been booked under six times.
In 2004, Bhat was jailed on the charges of “breaking” Hurriyat Conference when they were engaged in back-channel talks with New Delhi. On the contrary, in 2008 he was arrested during the Amarnath land row on the charges of “uniting” the Hurriyat.

Bhat appeared in several CD’s urging people to support Hurriyat (G) campaign. Recently he issued a video statement asking people to be ready for more “sacrifices”.

A Tyndale Biscoe School pass-out, Bhat completed B Sc from SP College. At the age of 16 he started participating in rallies of Muslim United Front in 1987. Rising Kashmir

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