Strike by Hurriyat evokes mix response in Kashmir Valley
The general strike called by hardline Hurriyat in support of the demand for handing over the body of Parliament convict Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar Jail, evoked a mixed response in the Kashmir Valley.
Issuing a protest calendar on Monday, Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is under house arrest in Delhi, said that complete civil curfew will be observed on Wednesday and Thursday, while a shutdown will be observed after Friday prayers followed by peaceful protests.
While shops and business establishments in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk remained closed, they were open in most areas of the Valley.
Though public transport remained off the roads in most of the major towns, it plied in Lal Chowk and the adjoining areas. Private cars were plying normally on all the major routes.
In the suburbs and other districts of the Valley, life was near normal as the strike call failed to evoke much of a response in these areas.
Government offices and banks remained open, while schools remained shut on account of the on-going winter vacations.
Hundreds of policemen donning riot gear were deployed in the sensitive areas in Srinagar and other towns to thwart any possible protest.
Authorities yesterday imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPC in Srinagar apprehending law and order problems in view of the three-day strike called by the separatist group.
“According to District Magistrate Srinagar, Baseer Ahmad Khan, in view of law and order situation, restrictions under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed in entire district Srinagar with immediate effect till further orders,” an official spokesman said yesterday.
He said the restrictions have been imposed to avoid breach of peace and tranquillity, besides loss of life and damage to property.