Curfew-like Situation In Valley Ahead Of Separatists' March

5 December 2008

Srinagar: A curfew-like situation prevailed in the Kashmir valley today as thousands of security personnel were deployed to scuttle any attempt by separatists to hold protest rallies during the day. Heavy deployment has been made in Srinagar and other towns of the Valley as the separatist coordination committee had called for protests after Friday prayers in support of their demand for right to self determination and against the holding of assembly elections. The coordination committee, an amalgam of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, JKLF, trade unions, business bodies and religious groups, at a meeting yesterday asked people to observe complete shutdown after Friday prayers and hold peaceful 'anti-India' and 'anti-election protests'. During the meeting, president of the Kashmir high court bar association Mian Abdul Qayoom asked the people to march towards Budgam and Baramulla districts where polling is slated to take place on Sunday in the fourth phase of assembly elections. Police and paramilitary personnel were patrolling the streets to foil any attempt by the separatists. In view of strict restrictions imposed by the security forces and a general strike called by the separatists, all shops and business establishments, government offices, banks, courts, educational institutes and other semi-government institutions remained closed, officials said. They said all modes of transport were off the roads here and in other parts of the Valley.