Sonia visit: Mirwaiz under house arrest, separatists call strike

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was put under house arrest and prohibitory orders clamped in Srinagar.

Updated: May 29, 2010, 17:46 PM IST

Srinagar: Chairman of moderate Hurriyat faction Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was put under house arrest and prohibitory orders clamped in the old city on Saturday as separatists called a strike against the visit of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi to Jammu.

A contingent of police and paramilitary personnel
surrounded the Nigeen residence of Mirwaiz and asked him not
to venture out, official sources said.

Geelani has called the shutdown against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson`s visit to the state.

Gandhi is to inaugurate a tribal cultural centre in Jammu and address a function organised by the Gujjar community there. She had earlier cancelled the Srinagar leg of her visit.

Shops, other business establishments, educational institutions and public transport remained off the roads and attendance in government offices and banks was low in Srinagar city.

Authorities made heavy deployment of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in sensitive areas falling under five police stations of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Maharajgunj and Safa Kadal of the old city to ensure law and order.

"Preventive measures have been taken to protect civilian life and property," a police officer said here.

As a result of restrictions in old city area and the
strike called by hardline Hurriyat faction leader Syed Ali
Shah Geelani, life remained disrupted in the city and other
major towns with shops and business establishments remaining
closed and traffic remaining off the roads, the sources said.

"We have no personal animosity with Gandhi but she is
visiting as president of Congress party. We believe that the
party is mainly responsible for the present problems of
Kashmiris," Geelani, who was taken into preventive custody
yesterday, said.

The separatist leader, who was placed under house
arrest since May 23, was taken into preventive custody when he
came out of his house violating restrictions imposed on his
movement by authorities.

Most of the educational institutions, banks, private
institutions remained closed in most parts of the city. The
attendance in government offices was thin, the sources said.
However, tourist destinations were not affected by the
strike and traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was

Meanwhile, situation in Nadihal-Panzallah in Baramulla
was tense as bodies of three youths allegedly killed in a fake
encounter were buried in their ancestral graveyard today,
admit protests by locals.

The bodies were exhumed yesterday on the direction of
Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Showkat Ahmad Mir after the
state government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the