Wullar tragedy protest hits life in Kashmir
1 June 2006
Srinagar: Normal life in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir was hit on Thursday, following a strike call by separatist organisations and supported by militant outfits to protest the alleged negligence of the Navy leading to the boat tragedy on Wullar lake killing 21 children and one teacher. Shops, business establishments, banks and educational institutions remained closed. Transport also remained off the road in most of the places. Though in some areas of Srinagar the response was partial, there was a total shutdown in Handwara, Sopore, Kupwara and Baramulla. The children belonged to Handwara town. The call given by the hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani was supported by Dukhtaran-e-Millat, the Bar Association and most of the militant outfits. The JKLF and the moderate Hurriyat Conference had also asked people to observe the strike. At a news conference, Kashmir Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom said a team of lawyers sent to Watlab and Handwara 'found that the children had been put in the boat against their will.' The Army has announced a compensation of Rs. 11 lakh for the affected families. Each will be given Rs. 50,000. Defence spokesman V. K. Batra said General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Udhampur-based Northern Command Lt. Gen Deepak Kapoor visited the site.