Separatist shutdown affects life in Srinagar



Srinagar: Normal life across Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar was marred on Saturday because of separatists calling a shutdown and official restrictions being put in place ahead of a rally by separatist groups.

Authorities have placed Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, under house arrest in his uptown Nigeen residence.

Restrictions have been imposed on public movement in nine police station areas of the old city in order to scuttle Saturday's separatist gathering at the Eidgah grounds coinciding with the death anniversaries of Mirwaiz Umer's father, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq and another senior separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone.

The moderate Hurriyat group had appealed to people to observe a Valley wide shutdown Saturday and peacefully assemble at the Eidgah grounds in the afternoon, where a public meeting would be held to commemorate the death anniversaries of the slain separatist leaders.

While Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was killed by unknown assassins in his Nigeen residence this day in 1990, Lone was killed while attending the commemoration function of the late Mirwaiz in the Eidgah grounds in 2002.

"Restrictions have been placed in Safa Kadal, MR Gunj, Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Nigeen, Soura, Lal Bazar and Kralkhud police station areas to maintain law and order in the city. Genuine public movement is, however, being allowed throughout the city.

"Restrictions have also been imposed on inter district movement of separatist activists today," a senior police officer said.

The officer said the Mirwaiz had been placed under house arrest as a preventive measure.

The Mirwaiz had announced he would lay the foundation stone of a 'Martyrs' wall' at the Eidgah grounds Saturday.

Scores of people and some separatist leaders killed in the 20-year separatist violence in the city have been buried at the Eidgah graveyard here.

Traffic, educational institutions, shops, business establishments and other routine activities of life remained shut in Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir Valley Saturday.

Attendance was very thin in government offices, banks and post offices because of non-availability of public transport and restrictions imposed by the authorities.

Contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed at all the sensitive locations in the city.

No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere so far.

IANS