Kashmir Shuts On Power Cuts, Killing

Kashmir Shuts On Power Cuts, Killing

6 January 2012
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: Kashmir Valley observed a complete shutdown on Friday to protest against the killing of a student by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and erratic power supply. The strike was called by Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), the premier business body of the Valley representing traders, transporters and hoteliers. In the summer capital of Srinagar, shops, business establishments and banks remained closed while the attendance in government offices was thin. The strike was complete in Lal Chowk, Residency Road, M A Road and Jehangir Chowk. However, some private and public transport vehicles were plying on many routes of the city. Situation in old city areas remained calm. Unlike the routine during the strike days, no restrictions were imposed in the area. The roads wore a deserted look. Policemen and paramilitary CRPF personnel in riot gears guarded the deserted streets. Hundreds of policemen and paramilitary CRPF men were deployed across the Valley to prevent any street protests after Friday prayers. In Maisuma, youth took to streets and staged pro-freedom demonstrations after JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was detained by police while taking out a procession. Police used mild lathi-charge to disperse the protesters. However, they retaliated with stones, triggering clashes. Kashmir has been simmering with anger over the shortage of power supply as residents face a harsh winter. KEA has demanded proper electricity supply and warned that the current power crisis will have an adverse impact on Kashmir's struggling economy. A 12th standard student was killed and two others injured earlier this week when Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel opened fire on protesters demanding electricity in Uri town of Baramulla. There have been protests in the city here over the last few weeks and in Baramulla yesterday as residents demand proper electricity. A new curtailment schedule announced by the Power Development Department has limited the power supply. KEA has also demanded from state government that they should present a ‘white paper’ on different power projects run by NHPC. KEA has accused state government of showing ‘laid back’ approach and not doing anything about the ‘loot of JK’s natural resources by NHPC.’ Chairman KEA, Muhammad Yaseen Khan, said this evening, “We thank the people of the Valley including traders, transporters and hoteliers who have made our strike call successful. We have shown the state government power of the common man and what can he do when pushed against the wall. Now the ball is in the hands of the government.” While asking the state government to solve the problems of common people, Yaseen said, “We will talk with the stakeholders from all sections of society in order to chalk out future strategy against the state government policies which are anti people.” He further added, “We are giving ultimatum to the state government to improve power supply or face protests.” RESTRICTIONS IN SOPORE: Restrictions were imposed in north Kashmir’s Sopore town on the 19th anniversary of Sopore massacre. The town observed complete shutdown with shops, business establishments and government offices remaining closed and traffic off the roads. Large contingent of police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were deployed in Neharpora, Batpora, Muslim Peer and Kralteng to prevent any protests. Amid tears and prayers, the town residents remembered the civilians who lost their lives in the gruesome bloodbath of 1993. On this day in 1993, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel allegedly killed 57 persons, most of them roasted alive in shops, buses and houses. The forces allegedly also set 100 houses and 300 shops on fire. Surprisingly, the Central Bureau of Investigation is still probing the case. The Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani had called for a complete shutdown in the town against the massacre and to pay homage to the martyrs. Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while commemorating the massacre expressed his solidarity with the people of Sopore and the bereaved families. Mirwaiz while condemning the Boniyar incident said, “Whenever Kashmiris raised voice for their birthright and basic amenities they were showered with bullets.” Executive Member of Hurriyat Conference (M) and Chairman Jammu & Kashmir Peoples League Mukthar Waza also paid glowing tributes to the Sopore martyrs. Addressing a gathering at S.K Colony Anchidora Islamabad (Anantnag) Waza said, “Kashmiri martyrs sacrificed their lives for a sacred cause and the sacrifices would not be allowed to go waste.” The authorities placed separatist leaders including Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Zafar Akbar Bhat under house arrest. The leaders were scheduled to visit Sopore today.