Kashmir Shuts Against 'arrest Spree'

15 May 2014
Greater Kashmir
Shabir Ibn Yusuf

Srinagar: Kashmir Thursday observed a complete shutdown to protest fresh arrest spree by the government forces. The strike was called by Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani. While public transport was off the roads in most parts of Kashmir, shops and other business establishments remained shut. Skeletal private transport, however, plied on intra and inter-district roads. The work in government offices and banks was also affected due to non-availability of public transport. To thwart protest demonstrations, the authorities had made fresh deployment of contingents of police and paramilitary forces in Srinagar and other major towns. In old Srinagar areas, the forces were deployed in large numbers and armored vehicles were positioned on road junctions. Civil lines areas of the city also witnessed huge deployment of forces to thwart any protests. However, the strike call evoked partial response in some uptown areas including Jawahar Nagar, Sonawar, Rajbagh, Rambagh, Sanatnagar, Hyderpora and Peerbagh. Reports of complete shutdown were also received from Ganderbal and Budgam districts of central Kashmir. However, vehicles carrying tourists to Sonamarg plied normally. Baramulla town in north Kashmir also witnessed complete shutdown. All shops were closed in the town and traffic movement was also affected. Police had sealed all three bridges in the town. Reports of shutdown were also received from Tangmarg area of Baramulla district. The markets at Chandilora, Druroo, Rarem, Kunzar, Manglore, Dhobiwan, Magam, Kanihama and Mazhama presented a deserted look. However, thin public transport as also tourist traffic on Srinagar-Gulmarg road plied without any disruption. Sopore area of district Baramulla also observed shutdown. Bandipora town of north Kashmir also observed a complete strike. Similar reports were received from Kupwara, Handwara, Trehgam, Langate, Lolab and Kralpora areas of north Kashmir's Kupwara district. A complete shutdown was also observed in South Kashmir districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian. Shops, business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. Geelani has threatened that if the state government fails to release the youth and students and revoke PSA after today's strike, 'the amalgam will be forced to announce future program after proper deliberations.' Scores of separatist leaders and activists are either under house arrest or have been detained in police stations. They include Muhammad Ashraf Sehraie, Ayaz Akbar, Dr G M Ganaie, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Mushtaq-ul-Islam, Shakeel Ahmad Bakshi, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Abdul GaniBhat, Abdul Majeed Rather and Ameer Hamza.