Valley observes shutdown


Srinagar, Dec 31: Life across the Kashmir Valley was affected Monday due to the shutdown called by separatists to protest the firing on civilians by forces in Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Friday.
The shutdown was called by Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Several other groups including High Court Bar Association, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (H), Peoples League, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Muslim Khawateen Markaz had supported the call. Shops, other business establishments, courts, tuition centers remained closed in support of the call. Public transport was largely off the roads, however private vehicles were seen plying on Srinagar roads.
The attendance in government offices was also thin as employees could not reach their destinations because of non-availability of public transport.
No untoward incident was reported from any part of the Valley even as authorities deployed heavy contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to scuttle any protest demonstrations against the Pulwama incident. Hundreds of policemen donning riot gears were deployed in the sensitive areas in Srinagar and other towns of valley to thwart any protests.
Early Monday morning heavy contingents of police and CRPF were deployed in sensitive areas in both civil lines and old Srinagar. Armored vehicles were seen at major road junctions to thwart any protest demonstration.
Police said Section 144 is already in place in Srinagar and other major towns of the valley. “There was no untoward incident in any part of valley. We were ready to foil any protest demonstration,” a senior police officer told Greater Kashmir Monday evening.

Bandipora, Sopore, Baramulla, Kupwara and Handwara also observed a complete strike in response to the shutdown call to protest firing on civilians in Pulwama.
In Bandipora town, shops, business establishments and other commercial units remained closed, attendance in government offices and banks was affected. Vehicular traffic also remained off the roads except thin private transport plied on the roads. The town also witnessed heavy deployment of police and para-military forces.
Complete shutdown was also observed in Sopore. Shops, other business establishments, 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 Kupwara due to the strike. 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 on the roads. The roads in Kupwara, Trehgam, Kralpora, Handwara and Langate remained deserted.

Reports of complete shutdown also poured in from south Kashmir districts of Islamabad (Anantnag), Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam. Business establishments, government offices and educational institutions remained closed and traffic was off the roads.
Pertinently, nine civilians were injured when government forces allegedly opened fire in Pulwama district on Friday. The firing on civilians has been condemned by separatist and mainstream parties. Some of them have called for an impartial probe into the incident.

Chairman JKLF Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested Monday along with other party leaders at Pampore. Others who were arrested included Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Mushtaq Ajmal, Bashir Kashmiri and M. Shahid.
Malik, according to a JKLF spokesman, were on their way to Pulwama to express solidarity with the families of militants and civilians.
Strongly condemning the arrest, the spokesman said that “curfews, arrests, beatings and other acts of tyranny cannot stop the people of Jammu & Kashmir from raising their voice for independence.”
The spokesman said that “rulers instead of putting barricades and restrictions on movement of people should stop the terror unleashed by their forces.”

Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 31 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 1 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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