Strike Cripples Life In Kashmir Valley
5 May 2007
Srinagar: Educational institutions and business establishments were today closed in the Kashmir valley due to a strike call given by the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, official sources said. The strike was called to protest the arrest of several Hurriyat leaders including Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Masrat Alam, Firdous Shah and Mohammad Shafi Lone. The four hardline leaders were booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) last week following the registration of a case against them on April 22 for raising anti-national and pro-militant slogans at a rally organised to welcome Geelani after his successful operation at a hospital in Mumbai. Shops, other business establishments, schools and colleges remained closed across the valley while passenger transport was off the roads due to the strike, the sources added. They said private vehicles were seen plying here in the city and in some parts of of the district headquarters of the valley. The strike was also called in protest against the alleged desecration of a mosque inside a Srinagar fort, they added Attendance in government offices was thin as lack of transport facilities created problems for the employees in reaching their destinations, the sources said. Geelani also called for strike to protest the alleged atrocities 'let loose by militant-turned-counter insurgent Ghulam Mohammad Lone alias Papa Kishtwari in Pampore area of Pulwama district. The strike call was also given in protest against the alleged violation of human rights by security forces in the state, the sources added. Meanwhile, a spokesman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat, said the strike was a public verdict against the arrest of its leaders, alleged desecration of the mosque and human rights violations in the state. Demanding the release of all political prisoners, including the leaders arrested last month, end to the alleged human rights violations and reconstruction of the mosque in the fort, the spokesman said the Centre should understand the mood of the people and accept the ground realities. The strike has also proved that people of Kashmir now know the difference between 'genuine and fake leaders', he added.