Security restrictions, shutdown disrupt life in Kashmir

May 12th, 2009 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 12 (IANS) Security restrictions in Srinagar and a shutdown called by separatists affected normal life in Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday ahead of polls in the Baramulla and Ladakh constituencies in the last phase Wednesday.
State authorities moved heavy paramilitary and police reinforcements to Srinagar and imposed strict security restrictions, halting pedestrian and vehicular movement.

This follows days of anti-poll protests in the old city where security restrictions were harsh Tuesday morning.

Paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers and police personnel dotted streets in the old city and uptown areas, enforcing the restrictions and barricading the roads with barbed wires and road blocks.

The state government has placed almost all senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest ahead of the elections.

The 50-hour strike call given by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani began Monday evening ahead of voting in Baramulla constituency.

The strike began on a violent note following anti-poll protests in Baramulla town where protestors stoned the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rally, leaving 30 people injured.

The constituency spread over the three north Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipore has a total 10,54,086 electorate for whom 1,470 polling stations have been set up.

Security in the entire constituency is tight and authorities have made elaborate security arrangements for a peaceful poll Wednesday.

Senior separatist leader Sajad Gani Lone is locked in a triangular contest in the constituency, where the ruling National Conference has fielded Sharief-ud-Din and the opposition PDP Muhammad Dilawar Mir as their candidates.

Leh constituency in the old desert Ladakh region has a total 152,391 electorate for whom 476 polling stations spread cross four assembly segments of Nobra, Leh, Kargil and Zanskar have been set up.

Congress candidate P. Namgyal is pitted again independent candidate Ghulam Hassan Khan in the constituency.

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