Hurriyat Strike Call Hits Kashmir Valley

20 June 2009
The Hindu

Srinagar: A complete shutdown called by the Hurriyat Conference (Geelani) affected life in the Kashmir Valley on Saturday. It was called to protest against the visit of Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who was here to preside over the 17th Annual Convocation of the Kashmir University. Shops, business establishments, offices, banks and educational institutions remained closed and transport services were affected. A Hurriyat spokesman had clarified that the strike was not against Mr. Ansari but to register “our protest against New Delhi’s intransigent policy and increasing violations of human rights in Kashmir.” Shopian incident There were violent protests in Kashmir two weeks ago after the bodies of two young women were found in a rivulet in Shopian. Locals alleged that they were raped and murdered. The police initially refused to register the case on these lines but after medical reports came, two separate cases of rape and murder were registered. Justice (retired) Muzaffar Jan is heading the one-man judicial commission probing the killings. But tempers are still running high across the Kashmir Valley, particularly in Shopian town which remained closed for the 22nd consecutive day on Saturday. Tight security Authorities had taken strict measures to ensure a smooth and incident-free convocation, amid threats of boycott by students and two incidents of violence in Srinagar on Saturday. However, the boycott threat fizzled out and most of the students attended the convocation. Large contingents of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in strength to maintain law and order. The Vice-President delivered the convocation address during which Governor N.N. Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah were present. Hundreds of teachers, scholars and students participated. Reports reaching here from other major cities and towns of the Valley indicated that the shutdown adversely affected normal life there as well. Police continued to keep separatist leaders Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik under house arrest for the 21st day.