Restrictions, shutdown ahead of polls in Kashmir

April 29th, 2009 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, April 29 (IANS) Strict restrictions were in place here as life in other parts of the Kashmir Valley was affected due to a shutdown call by separatists Wednesday, a day ahead of the Lok Sabha polls Thursday.
Hundreds of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers and policemen were patrolling various localities of Srinagar to enforce curfew like restrictions.

The security forces have erected barricades using razor fitted wires to restrict the movement of people and vehicles.

“We are confined to our homes. No movement is being allowed in the old city. The CRPF jawans are guarding lanes and by-lanes in our locality,” said Javed Ahmad, a resident of Nowhatta area.

However, despite the restrictions, groups of youth came out on the roads in Safakadal area of the old city and pelted stones at the police and paramilitary troopers.

The security forces dispersed them with batons and tear smoke.

Anti-poll protestors torched a Tata-Sumo in the old city Tuesday, which was hired by the CRPF for poll duty.

The 50-hour-long shutdown call by separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani also affected normal life in north Kashmir towns of Ganderbal, Bandipore, Baramulla and Sopore.

In Sopore, groups of anti-poll protestors shouting slogans pelted stones at police and paramilitary this morning.

They were, however, chased away by the police.

Security is tight in south Kashmir which goes to polls Thursday.

Thousands of police and paramilitary CRPF have been deployed in the entire constituency where 1,485 polling stations have been set up to facilitate 437,708 voters, including female voters.

Most of the prominent separatist leaders including Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik have been placed under house arrest.

“Elaborate security arrangements have been made for a peaceful poll. We will not allow anyone to disturb peace. Today’s security measures in Srinagar are a preventive step,” said a police officer.

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