Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, other Kashmiri leaders under house arrest ahead of local polls in IHK

Ahead of the Indian government's local elections in occupied Kashmir, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, said on Sunday that he has been placed under house arrest.

A tweet from the Hurriyat leader read: “Under house arrest! Peculiar 'democratic' process of elections 'gearing up' as huge deployment of forces, PSAs, incarcerations, house arrests, raids, curbs, internet bans gather momentum! Not to mention the unknown contestants and amused public! What mockery of democracy is at display!”

The four-phase polls for the local bodies in India-held Kashmir (IHK) are being held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16. Tensions have been rising ahead of local elections with New Delhi deploying an additional 40,000 troops to the disputed region to maintain order.

Both pro-Indian parties and freedom groups fighting for self-determination have called for a boycott of the upcoming polls. The region has been under direct control of New Delhi since the local government collapsed there in June.

According to the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), several Hurriyat leaders and activists have been put on house arrest by the Indian forces in order to prevent them from running boycott campaigns against the elections.

Indian police arrested Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik from his office at Aabi Guzar in Srinagar on Tuesday to stop him from carrying out an election boycott drive, said Kashmir Media Service.

A JKLF spokesman said that many other party leaders and activists have also been put behind the bars during the past few days to prevent them from campaigning against the polls.

Earlier, Indian police had arrested the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chief Spokesman Ghulam Ahmed Gulzar from his residence in Srinagar on September 27 and later booked him under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

Gulzar is currently lodged at Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu.

Other APHC leaders including Hakeem Abdul Rasheed, Muhammad Yasin Attai and Syed Imtiaz Haider have also been put under illegal detention.

APHC Chairman Syed Ali Gilani is under continued house arrest at his Hyderpora residence in Srinagar since 2010 while the authorities have also placed Hurriyat leader Mukhtar Ahmed Waza under house detention in Islamabad town.

Indian police have also arrested scores of people during its crackdown in different areas of IHK.

Last month, six people were killed in mounting violence ahead of the local elections as authorities imposed a curfew and suspended mobile internet services across the disputed territory.



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