Separatist sponsored shutdown cripples life in Kashmir

6 August 2008
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: A general shutdown called by separatists against the Amarnath land row threw normal life out of gear in the Kashmir valley on Wednesday. Shops, business establishments and educational institutes remained closed. Roads wore a deserted look as public and private transport stayed off. Authorities have strengthened the deployment of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the police throughout the Jammu and kashmir summer capital Srinagar to prevent protests. Attendance in government offices and banks was very thin. Chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani has given the call for the shutdown against any bid to revert the plot of forest land in north Kashmir to the Amarnath temple shrine board. Geelani said if the forest land revocation order was withdrawn, the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be responsible for the 'disastrous consequences that would follow' such a move in the valley. There were no reports of violence from anywhere in the valley as people mostly preferred to remain indoors. In south Kashmir's Pulwama, Anantnag and north Kashmir's Baramulla and Kupwara districts some groups of youth held demonstrations and burnt tyres to vent their anger against the land row that has had Jammu and Kashmir on the boil for more than a month now. Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), continued his indefinite hunger strike for the second day Wednesday. Malik is protesting the economic blockade of the Jammu-Srinagar highway and attacks on members of the minority Muslim community in Jammu, allegedly by some fringe Hindu groups.