Kashmir Valley Defies Geelani's Strike Call4 September 2010
Times of India
Srinagar: Exasperated with repeated shutdowns, curfews and violent deaths, Kashmiris defied hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's strike call and went about their business as usual. Shops and establishments, which had, for the most part been closed since mid-June - when Kashmir erupted over the death of 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo in police action - remained open on Saturday. So did banks, government offices and schools. Vehicles plied across Srinagar, as did inter-city buses connecting it with the Valley. Authorities helped normalcy return and didn't bother with curfew or restrictions on people'e movement. In contrast, they were earlier quick to impose prohibitory orders every time separatists called for bandhs. 'We lifted curfew across the Valley and are watching the situation,' said Kashmir range IGP S M Sahai. Residents said they felt impelled to defy the separatists' protests. 'We opened shops as we've suffered financially the last three months,' said Srinagar shopkeeper, Abdul Rahim Dar. Auto-driver Javid Ahmad echoed Dar and said his family, like other daily-wagers, was suffering economic hardships. 'I've not earned even Rs 50 in last two months. I had to get back to work for my family's sake,' he said. Educational institutions across the Valley have virtually remained closed during the last three months, forcing a leading Srinagar school to shift its class XII students to New Delhi to salvage their academic year. Earlier this week, scores of parents and students, carrying placards, marched to Srinagar from central Kashmir's Ganderbal district to protest against the closure of schools and colleges. Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Hurriyat faction has been issuing regular protest calendars under its 'quit Jammu & Kashmir movement' programme.