Srinagar: Several leaders of trade bodies were detained here to thwart planned protests against alleged inadequate rehabilitation efforts for victims of last year's floods in Kashmir, which observed a shutdown on Monday.
The Opposition National Conference, which had given the call for bandh besides the separatists on the first anniversary of the floods that left nearly 300 persons dead and caused massive destruction, hit out at the Mufti Sayeed Government for the crackdown, saying it was scuttling legitimate democratic protests.
Police took into preventive custody leaders of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) including Mohammad Yasin Khan and Showkat Chowdhary in a pre-dawn swoop ahead of their planned protest at Lal Chowk. Several separatist leaders including moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were also put under house arrest.
A police official said the area around Lal Chowk's historic Clock Tower has been sealed and no one will be allowed to proceed in that direction.
Police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in numbers to prevent any law and order situation, the official said.
The KEA had called for a shutdown today to mark the first anniversary of the floods and was also planning a symbolic protest.
NC leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah slammed the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government, saying they had made "tall promises" of providing relief to the people "but till this day, we have got nothing".
He warned that such actions will only alienate the people and accused the ruling PDP of "sabotaging" the relief package for the state.
"In a series of midnight raids Mufti Syed has ensured the arrest of all the Trade Body leaders. Their crime? Unhappiness over flood relief.
"All these people wanted to do was register their dissatisfaction at the absence of any meaningful flood relief. Shame on Mufti the Dictator," Omar said in a series of tweets.
He also took a dig at Mufti Mohammed Sayed Government's plan to mark the floods anniversary as revival day.
"If Mufti Sb was so sure people were going to celebrate as his Govt has planned today he wouldn't have ordered these arrests (sic)," Omar tweeted.
"Shows just how desperate they are for their "celebration" to succeed," the NC leader said on microblogging site Twitter.
The opposition National Conference marked the day by holding a blood donation camp. Omar inaugurated the camp by donating blood.