Normal Life Hit In Srinagar, Heavy Deployment Of Securitymen

27 February 2009
The Hindu

Srinagar: Life in Srinagar remained crippled on Friday as authorities imposed stringent restrictions on the movement of people in old city and a shutdown was observed in uptown areas against alleged 'atrocities' by security forces. Hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the areas falling under 15 police stations of the city to prevent separatists from staging rallies after Friday prayers. A call for protests has been given by the Chairman of hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Geelani, who is undergoing treatment in Delhi, had urged the people to hold peaceful protests after Friday prayers against 'atrocities by security forces.' The Hurriyat has also decided to hold a meeting at Jamia Masjid in Sopore town of north Kashmir to condole the death of two youths killed in a firing incident there last week. The areas falling under Maisuma police station in the heart of the city were also brought under similar restrictions after six persons were injured in clashes yesterday between police and people protesting the death of an autorickshaw driver, a kin of JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik. Preliminary investigations had revealed that auto-driver Shabir Ahmad Sheikh was strangulated to death by unidentified persons. However, the locals had accused Special Operations Group of local police of killing Sheikh. Police have denied their involvement in the incident and said investigations are on to identify the killers. In the wake of restrictions imposed by the administration in downtown city and a complete shutdown observed in uptown areas, all shops and business establishments, banks and offices remained closed. Residents of the old city alleged that the security personnel were not allowing them to come out of their houses as if curfew has been imposed. However, police denied any report of curfew and said security forces have been given strict orders not to allow gathering of four or more people at any place as the Section 144 of CRPC was in force.