Separatists shutdown call hits life in Srinagar

Srinagar: Life across Srinagar was marred today by a separatist shutdown and restrictions imposed by authorities to maintain law and order.

Shops, business establishments, educational institutions and public transport were shut as separatists called for strike to commemorate the death anniversaries of senior Hurriyat leaders Mirwaiz Maulana Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone, slain by unidentified assassins on this day in 1990 and 2002 respectively.

Government offices, banks and post offices, however, functioned normally even though attendances were thin because of non-availability of public transport in the city.

The Mirwaiz Umer Farooq-led moderate faction of the Hurriyat had called for a rally at the Eidgah graveyard, but the authorities imposed restrictions in areas falling under five police stations in the old city.

The police station areas of where pedestrian and vehicular movements have been restricted are Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Safa Kadal and Rainawari.

“All bona fide civilian movement is allowed in these areas although an eye is kept on anti-social elements”, a senior police officer said here.

A police statement Monday morning said, “In view of yesterday’s clashes in the Hurriyat office at Rajbagh, there was an apprehension that clashes could have spilled onto the streets during today’s proposed march. As such, this morning, a team of district officers led by the District Magistrate (DM) went to meet Mirwaiz Umer Farooq for facilitation of the proposed march and the rally at Eidgah.”

“However, Umer Farooq declined to meet the team. According to the distrioct magistrate, this situation left us with no option but to impose restrictions in some old city areas, to avoid any breach of peace,” the police statement added.

Most senior Hurriyat leaders, including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabbir Shah and some others, were placed under house arrest by the police.

No incident has been reported from any trouble-prone areas of the city so far where contingents of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have been deployed in strength.

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