Separatist shutdown affects life in Kashmir

June 11th, 2012 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 11 (IANS) Life in Srinagar and other towns in the Kashmir Valley was impacted Monday as shops, educational institutions and business establishments shut down in response to a call by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

Geelani, who heads the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, called for a Kashmir-wide shutdown to remember those killed in clashes with security forces during the 2010 summer unrest.

Violent clashes between security forces and unruly mobs indulging in stone pelting, arson and plunder of public property had resulted in the deaths of 210 people in 2010.

Geelani has asked the people to observe ‘martyrs’ remembrance week’ in memory of those killed.

While shutters came down in Srinagar and other major towns, there was no public transport either. Roads were deserted with skeletal private transport and some three wheelers being seen.

Reports of life being hit came in from across the valley, including Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kulgam.

Kashmiri militant group Hizbul Mujahideen has also supported the shutdown call.

Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in riot gear have been deployed in strength at many places in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir.

Vehicles carrying tourists to hill stations of Sonamarg, Gulmarg and Pahalgam, however, moved normally.

More than 500,000 tourists have visited Kashmir this year.

The annual Hindu pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath begins June 25 and will conclude Aug 2 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival. More than 300,000 pilgrims have already registered themselves for this year’s yatra.

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