Army asks people to ignore Hurriyat call for protest march

The army today asked people to ignore the call given by hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to march towards the security forces` camps in the Valley on September 21.

Srinagar: The army today asked people to
ignore the call given by hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali
Shah Geelani to march towards the security forces` camps in
the Valley on September 21 even as it asked the separatist
amalgam to withdraw its protest programme.

"The army makes a sincere appeal to people to avoid being
misled by the Hurriyat leaders and avoid confronting Army
garrisons or vehicles," Defence spokesman Lt Colonel J S Brar
told reporters here.

At the same time, the spokesman asked the Hurriyat
Conference to withdraw its protest programme to press for
demilitarisation of the state, in order to prevent loss of
life and property.

"I will appeal to the Hurriyat to call off its protest
programme," Brar said.

The army appeal comes a day after top security and civil
officials met here to devise a strategy to tackle the
separatist programme for September 21.

A special core group meeting was chaired by security
adviser to the chief minister Lt Gen NC Marwah, where measures
were discussed to effectively counter the protest calendar
issued by the Hurriyat. A detailed joint strategy was
formulated to restore normalcy in Kashmir.

Although the spokesperson did not elaborate, highly
placed sources said as part of the strategy, the security
forces will reduce movement to avoid confrontation with
protesters.

"The whole idea is not to be in confrontation with the
crowds to avoid loss of life and property. Maximum restraint
on part of the security forces was emphasised and all agencies
concerned were directed to ensure that the message percolates
to their personnel on ground," the sources said.

The meeting was held in response to the call given by
Geelani to people to march towards the security forces` camps
on September 21 to press for demilitarisation of the state.

Asserting that Army has been at the forefront of rescue
and relief missions during natural calamities, Brar said "army
will continue to work for the safety, welfare and empowerment
of the people".

"The Hurriyat is indeed misleading the ordinary masses
and trying to create a wedge between army and the people for
its vested interests. People should avoid falling into the
trap laid by Hurriyat leaders," he said.

The spokesman said the Hurriyat programme of protesting
outside army camps was a deliberate attempt to embroil the
army in the ongoing agitation and distract it from its primary
role of guarding the borders and countering insurgency.

Meanwhile, Geelani told reporters at his residence that
his programme is peaceful and there is no plan to attack the
security forces camps.

"We only want to tell the forces that they will have to
leave this land one day. The elders of the respective areas
will lead the marches and hand over memoranda to the army
personnel in this regard," he added.

PTI

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