Shutdown by separatists cripples life in Kashmir

May 6th, 2009 - 4:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, May 6 (IANS) Normal life in the Kashmir Valley was crippled Wednesday by the 50-hour long shutdown, called by separatists to keep people away from the polls Thursday.
Voting in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency is to be held Thursday amid a boycott call by separatist leaders and threat to voters by Pakistan-based militant groups - the United Jehad Council and the Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Traffic was off the roads, banks, educational institutions and markets were closed here while attendance in government offices was thin because of the non-availability of public transport in the city.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has called for a 50-hour long valley-wide shutdown beginning Tuesday evening to coincide with the Srinagar constituency Lok Sabha elections.

The authorities have placed most of the separatist leaders, including Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, under house arrest to prevent them from leading anti-poll protests.

In the old city areas people said the security forces had restricted their movement.

“The situation is peaceful throughout the valley,” a police official told IANS.

Despite the tense situation, authorities are giving final touches to the poll arrangements and election staff have started reaching their destinations in the three districts of Srinagar, Ganderbal and Badgam.

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