Geelani tones down strike calendar

The hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Sunday toned down its strike calendar ahead of Eid-ul-Azha celebrations in third week of this month.

Last Updated: Nov 07, 2010, 18:39 PM IST

Srinagar: With pressure mounting on it to
review its agitation in Kashmir Valley, the hardline faction
of Hurriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Sunday toned down its strike calendar ahead of Eid-ul-Azha
celebrations in third week of this month.

According to the 12-day protest calendar issued by
Geelani, there are only three days of strikes.

The toning down of the protest calendar, which used to
have only three to four days of normalcy in 10 days, comes
hours after more than 100 activists of Jammu and Kashmir NGO
Forum staged an anti-strike rally in the city.

The roadside vendors of Sunday market, who had followed
the protest schedules issued during the five months of unrest
in the Valley, today did not pay heed to Geelani`s call for
observing `civil curfew` on the occasion of US President
Barack Obama`s visit to India.

Pressure had been mounting on Geelani to review his
strike schedules as a little known Jammu and Kashmir Ittehadi
Islami outfit had given a two-day ultimatum to the separatists
to call off the unending cycle of strikes.

According to official estimates, the state economy has
suffered losses to the tune of Rs 27,000 crores during the
recent agitation in the Valley. Most of the losses were
suffered on account of taxes and levies which could not be
collected.

However, industry sources put the losses to around Rs
40,000 crores in terms of lost business opportunities over the
past five months.

More than 60,000 youth have been rendered jobless,
mostly in the hotel industry, which depends on tourism -- the
worst hit sector due to the strikes and curfews in the Valley.

The non-Kashmiri labourers also suffered immense
losses as most of two lakh skilled and unskilled workforce
from UP, West Bengal, Punjab, Bihar and Orissa fled the Valley
after the protests intensified at the peak of the working
season.

PTI