KASHMIR SHUTS IN PROTEST
SHABIR IBN YUSUF
Srinagar, Sep 27: Normal life was paralyzed in Kashmir due to a separatist-sponsored strike to protest President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to the valley.
The shutdown call was given by Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani and supported by United Jihad Council (UJC) chairman Syed Salahudin, lawyers and students. Shops and other business establishments, schools,colleges across the valley remained closed in response to the shutdown call. Traffic also remained off the roads except police, paramilitary, Army vehicles, official cavalcades and some private vehicles were seen plying on the deserted roads.
The attendance in Government offices and banks remained thin due to non-availability of public transport.
In view of the President’s visit, the authorities had beefed up security apparatus in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley. To thwart any untoward incident, the roads and streets of Srinagar witnessed heavy deployment of police and para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
“We had deployed adequate number of forces to thwart any militant attack or any protest demonstration in city and Hazratbal area,” a top police officer told Greater Kashmir. He said minor clashes between police and groups of youth took place in Saraf Kadal area in old Srinagar. “Some youth pelted stones on police contingents in old Srinagar, but they were dispersed. No one was injured in the clashes,” the police officer said.
Hundreds of police and CRPF personnel were deployed on the eight-kilometer road stretch from Raj Bhawan to the Kashmir University since Thursday morning to secure the cavalcade of President and other dignitaries.
The police officer said that the entire KU campus was taken over by commandos and all high-rise buildings were under the control of sharp shooters.
Complete shutdown was also observed in Budgam and Ganderbal districts of Central Kashmir.
SCENE AT KASHMIR UNVERSITY:
The students putting up in KU hostels were virtually put under house arrest. Sharp shooters and commandos had taken positions on roof tops of hostels and gates of the buildings were locked. “Like separatists, we were put under house arrest. Since morning we were not allowed to venture out to get bread and milk for breakfast,” a student of Political Science told Greater Kashmir. “For the whole night the forces patrolled the campus,” he added.
Bandipora, Sopore, Baramulla, Kupwara and Handwara also observed a complete strike in responsible to the shutdown call.
The markets in Bandipora district wore a deserted look. Shops, business establishments and other commercial units remained closed, attendance in educational institutions, Government offices and banks was affected. Vehicular traffic also remained off the roads except thin private transport plied on the otherwise deserted roads.
Since morning, police and paramilitary forces, wearing riot gear and armed with bamboo sticks and rifles, were deployed in main Bandipora town. The situation was similar in other parts of the district.
Complete shutdown was also observed in Sopore, Kupwara, Baramulla and Handwara towns. Shops, other business establishments, schools and Government offices remained closed and traffic was off the roads.
Authorities had deployed hundreds of police and CRPF men in the district headquarters to thwart any protest demonstration.
Normal life was disrupted in the Kupwara due to the strike. Schools, shops, business establishments and fuel stations were closed due to the strike. The roads in Kupwara wore a deserted look as public and private transport remained off the roads. However, some private cars and forces’ vehicles could be seen plying the roads. The roads in Kupwara, Trehgam, Kralpora, Handwara and Langate remained deserted.
Heavy contingents of police and forces were deployed on roads to thwart any protest demonstration.
Complete shutdown was also observed in south Kashmir’s districts of Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam. Business establishments, Government offices and educational institutions remained closed and traffic was off the roads.
(WITH SUHAIL AJMAL,WASIM MAJNOON MIR AND GHULAM MUHAMMAD)
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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