MUZAFFARABAD: Heavy police contingents lobbed tear gas shells to disperse thousands of charged demonstrators, determined to march towards a crossing point along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Saturday, affecting around 20 persons, witnesses and hospital sources said.
The scene of the clash was Dawarandi village in subdivision Hajira, where police had set up barricades and barbed wire to prevent the participants of an “Azadi Long March” under the aegis of Sardar Mohammad Saghir-led faction of pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Based in Rawalakot, Mr Saghir was chairman of late Amanullah Khan-led faction of JKLF until its amalgamation with Yasin Malik-led faction in 2011. Due to some alleged reservations about the merger, he had launched his own faction of the pro-independence organisation.
About a week ago, he had given a call for the long march from Rawalakot to Tetrinote, a village famous for a crossing point across the LoC, and a dharna “for an indefinite period” there, to condemn India’s Aug 5 move, scrapping held Kashmir’s special status, the imposition of curfew, communication blockade and other repressive measures in the territory.
Another purpose of the march, according to him, was to condemn the unrelenting ceasefire violations across the LoC, which were “disturbing routine life and causing frequent civilian casualties on both sides”.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2019