Strike Hits Life In Kashmir; Curfew Continues In Baramulla

29 June 2009
The Hindu


Srinagar: Life across the Kashmir Valley remained crippled on due to a separatist-sponsored strike, while curfew imposed in Baramulla after two youths were killed in police firing was extended to Sopore town as a precautionary measure. Markets, educational institutions, banks, courts and other semi-government institutions remained closed and transport was off the roads across the valley in response to the three-day strike called by hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the killing of two youths in Baramulla and alleged use of force against demonstrators in Shopian. Attendance in government offices, barring the civil secretariat, was thin in absence of transport, officials said, adding employees of the secretariat were ferried in security-guarded vehicles. They said police and paramilitary personnel are patrolling the deserted streets to maintain law and order in the city and elsewhere in the Valley. Meanwhile, curfew continued without relaxation in Baramulla town of North Kashmir for the second successive day. The curfew was imposed on Monday after two youths were killed and scores others injured in police firing on protesters demanding action against policemen who had allegedly misbehaved with a woman on June 28. As a precautionary measure, Sopore town of Baramulla district was also brought under curfew this morning as the situation in the town was tense, officials said. Geelani-led Hurriyat decided to call for a complete strike for three days beginning Tuesday at its meeting on Monday. Earlier the amalgam had announced that it will endorse the programme by Majlis-e-Mushawarat, which is spearheading an agitation in Shopian, alongside moderate Hurriyat Conference and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front. Hardline Hurriyat leaders also rejected the probe ordered by the authorities in Shopian murder and rape case as an attempt to conceal facts and protect the culprits. 'We will not endorse any probe by commission of inquiries as such committees are being initiated to shield the culprits only. What can we expect from the probe when Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has already given a clean chit to perpeators'? Who will be punished by the commission can be gauged from the fact that doctors have been placed under suspension for speaking the truth,' the spokesman said. The moderate Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the use of force in Shopian and Baramulla.