Strike paralises normal life in Srinagar
25 January 2002
Srinagar: A one-day strike to denounce alleged excesses by Indian troops closed down shops on Friday in Srinagar. The strike, sponsored by the pro- Pakistan al-Umar Mujahedin militant group, also took traffic off the streets of Srinagar. All shops, banks and post offices were shut, while there was nominal attendance in government and semi-government offices. Al-Umar is headed by Mushtaq Zargar, one of three militant leaders exchanged for the hostages of an Indian Airlines plane hijacked in December 1999 from Nepal to Kandahar, Afghanistan. ''The strike is to protest the increase in atrocities by security forces in Kashmir,'' Zargar said in a statement published by the local newspapers on Friday. Indian officials described Zargar''s allegations as ''part of anti-India propaganda'' by militants. Security forces have stepped up patrols in Srinagar amid threats by Muslim militants to attack troops on the eve of the Republic Day.