Strike paralyses life in Kashmir again28 July 2010
The Daily Excelsior
SRINAGAR: Life in Kashmir came to a halt again today due to a strike called by hard line faction of Hurriyat Conference and restriction imposed by authorities in several areas of summer capital of the State even as Lal Chowk march of the National Panthers' Party was foiled and its chairman Bhim Singh detained along with 10 others. Bhim Singh led a handful of his party workers from Press Enclave towards Lal Chowk where he wanted to stage a rally to initiate a 'real political process' in the State, official sources said. However, as soon as Singh marched towards the Residency Road, he was detained by a posse of police personnel and taken to Kothibagh Police Station. At least 10 other party workers were also detained. The NPP chairman had invited all political parties to join the march to support his demand for dismissal of Omar Abdullah led Government and to convey real sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir to the Centre. Elsewhere, normal life activities came to a halt again due to the call for sit-in protests given by hard line faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani as part of its weekly agitation calendar. The Geelani-led faction had called for two days of sit-in protests across the Valley to protest against the recent killing of civilians in security forces' action and to press for resolution of Kashmir issue. Authorities imposed restrictions in several parts of summer capital, especially in the old city areas to thwart any plans of separatists to hold the protests, the sources said. Schools, colleges, shops, business and commcercial establishments remained closed due to the strike while attendance in Government offices was also affected. Roads and streets of the city and elsewhere in the Valley, which wore a festive look yesterday, were again deserted with all forms of public transport off the roads. Some private vehicles were seen plying early in the morning but they also thinned out as the day progressed due to violent protests in some parts of the city. Severe restrictions were imposed in areas falling under jurisdiction of police stations Maisuma, Batamaloo, Kralkhud, Parimpora, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Maharajgunj, Safakadal and Rainawari, the sources said. Barricades were erected at many places to prevent free movement of people while armoured vehicles were also used to block traffic movement in the city. Police continued its crackdown against the stone pelters by arresting at least a dozen more youth from several areas of the city over the past couple of days. The police action fuelled further violence in these areas today. Stone pelting incidents and protests were witnessed at Rambagh, Natipora, Solina and some adjoining areas in protest against arrest of the youth. A CRPF jawan was injured in stone pelting at Solina while a Polytechnic college student from Kishtwar was injured when he was beaten up by the jawans of the paramilitary force. Rameez Ahmad, a resident of Kishtwar, required four stitches to sew the wound in his head suffered during the beating by the CRPF jawans. The student told police that he had gone to Solina area to buy groceries as he was running out of stock. A large number of people staged dharna at Pattan in Baramulla district and blocked Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. The protestors were demanding release of all the youth arrested during recent unrest in their respective areas. They were chased away by the police personnel using minimal force. Although splinter groups of youth raised slogans at several places across the length and breadth of the Valley, there was no report of any major untoward incident from anywhere in Kashmir during the day. .