The strike called by top Hurriyat Conference leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik for Tuesday, July 25, protesting the recent arrests by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) evoked a poor response in the Valley. Seven second-rung Hurriyat leaders, including Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah and Mirwaiz’s close aide Shahid-ul-Islam, had been arrested by the NIA on July 24 and brought to Delhi as part of its terror-funding probe. The very next day, the ED also arrested senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah. Analysts in Kashmir warn against taking this as the Hurriyat’s obituary and predict that the ongoing crackdown can only push the separatists to harden their positions.
There are apprehensions that next in line would be the top rung, Geelani, Mirwaiz and Yasin, who came together after Burhan’s killing last year and have been issuing protest calendars, asking people to observe shutdowns and take out marches. DGP S.P. Vaid says only time would tell whether they will be arrested or not, but the people of Kashmir have a right to know who is responsible for bloodshed in the Valley.