The chairman of the People's League and Hurriyat Conference executive member Shiekh Abdul Aziz, was taken into preventive custody at Srinagar airport on Wednesday after he arrived from a month-long stay in Pakistan, where he was accorded a state welcome and given wide coverage on state run TV and print media.
Police said Aziz was taken into custody and driven to his home town Pampore in southern Pulwama district. However, DIG (Srinagar-Budgam range) K Rajendra denied that Aziz was arrested.
"In order to maintain law and order we took him to his home at Pampore," said a police officer.
He said since Section 144 was in force, no processions were allowed. Hundreds of Aziz's supporters had reached the airport to receive him.
When his supporters learnt that he was taken into custody they began shouting pro-Pakistani and pro-Lashkar-e-Tayiba slogans. Then they came to Lal Chowk, the historic city centre, and staged a sit in after forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters. Other Hurriyat leaders reached the city centre and addressed the protestors.
Later, the police had a difficult time dispersing the mobs. Stun grenades and tear gas were used and later warning shots were fired. The police arrested a dozen People's
After dispersing, the protestors regrouped in the Maisuma locality and indulged in stone throwing.
During his stay in Pakistan, Aziz met Pakistan Chief Executive General Parvez Musharaf and President Rafiq Tarar. He also met leaders of various political and religious organizations. Aziz had gone to Pakistan for his brother's marriage.
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