Hurriyat Calls Off Strike, Protests To Continue

9 June 2009
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Normalcy returned to major towns of Kashmir valley on Tuesday after the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference ended their strike called to protest the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian. A Hurriyat spokesman said that although they have not extended the strike any further, demonstrations will continue in the valley. 'There is no truth in the rumours that strike has been extended further,' spokesman of Hurriyat Ayaz Akbar said, asking people to resume their normal activities. Shops and markets, government offices, educational institutions, banks, courts and business establishments reopened on Tuesday morning and vehicles were back on the roads bringing life back to normal in the summer capital that witnessed massive protests for eight days. However, Akbar asked people to observe the programme already announced by the Hurriyat hours before its chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani along with his aides was arrested on Friday. As per the programme, students will hold demonstrations in their schools on Wednesday followed by protests by office goers on Thursday. The valley witnessed violent protests and curfew-like situation for eight days against the alleged rape and murder of Asiya (17) and her sister-in-law Nilofar (22) with authorities imposing restrictions to thwart the separatists' planned march to Shopian. Akbar asked people to reach Pulwama, 32 kms from Srinagar in south Kashmir, on Friday to register protest against the incident and said the lawyer fraternity will stage demonstrations on Saturday. On Sunday, the Majilis-e-shoora (advisory council) of the Hurriyat will meet and decide the future course of action, he said. The inquiry commission that is to probe the alleged rape and murder case could not record the statements of people or eye-witnesses in view of tension in the town on Monday that left 15 persons, including four CRPF and three policemen injured. Three of the four civilians injured at Sofannaman were hit by bullets and have been admitted to a hospital. The condition of all of them is stated to be out of danger, a government spokesman said. Police has constituted a three-member team to investigate into the case under the supervision of DIG South Kashmir Range.