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It's march time again in Valley

Separatists have begun preparations for a march to Lal Chowk. The march was deferred following Ramazan and after authorities clamped unprecedented curfew restrictions in August.

, ET Bureau|
Oct 02, 2008, 12.33 AM IST
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SRINAGAR: Separatists have begun preparations for a march to Lal Chowk. The march was deferred following Ramazan and after authorities clamped unprecedented curfew restrictions in August.

Addressing Eid congregations separatists urged people to make the march a grand success ���come what may.���

Though Eid prayers were offered in all the major mosques, in Srinagar there were three huge gatherings ��� in uptown Polo Ground, in sprawling Eidgah and Hazratbal. Tens of thousands of people who turned up to the twin venues at Eidgah and Polo Ground resorted to peaceful demonstrations shouting pro-freedom slogans.

JKLF���s Yasin Malik spoke at the Polo Ground and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq at Eidgah. Police withdrew cops that had encircled Syed Ali Shah Geelani���s Hyderpora residence Tuesday evening after getting inputs that people were likely to visit him to get him for Eidgah prayers.

���It should be a total peaceful march,��� Syed Ali Shah Geelani told the gathering at Eidgah. ���No stone pelting, no provocative slogans.��� He said the people coming from across the Valley must exhibit exemplary discipline. Geelani said JKLF leader Yasin Malik would be leading and hosting the march. Malik lives in Maisuma, adjacent to the sit-in venue.

Geelani talked about the crackdown and insisted his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat is being specially targeted. His personal aide Pir Saifullah was detained late last night.

Mirwaiz Umer said the government will not be able to suppress the ���genuine struggle of people of Kashmir���. ���India is using its might to crush our movement but it would not succeed.���

Authorities had made massive police deployments around the twin venues in Srinagar but prayers went off peacefully. However, men, women and children resorted to frequent sloganeering for freedom.

Earlier, Yasin Malik told the Polo Ground gathering that the October 6 march would be a success. ���We will take the ongoing freedom struggle to its logical conclusion,��� he told the gathering that essentially comprised of worshippers from Jamiat-e-Ahlihadis.

Hazratbal also witnessed a huge gathering and NC leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah offered their prayers there. Mufti Sayeed, however, was seen in the mosque at Sonawar, where traditionally most VVIPs come for prayers. At both these places, there was no talk about the Monday march. Reports from townships in rural areas said the march was the topic of discussion almost everywhere.

Though re-imposition of curfew for stalling the grand sit-in is likely, authorities are keeping their cards close to their chest. Right now the priority seems to weaken the co-ordination committee, which has emerged as a joint platform of all factions of separatists, including traders, employees and lawyers.
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