High alert in Valley as Hurriyat Conference calls for anti-blockade march

August 11th, 2008 - 1:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Shivraj Patil

Srinagar/Jammu, Aug 11 (ANI): Security forces have been put on high alert around fruit markets here in view of the Hurriyat Conferences call to march to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on Monday.
Jammu and Kashmir authorities have deployed additional policemen at the fruit market in Parimpora on the outskirts of Srinagar to foil any attempt to proceed to Muzaffarabad. Both factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) has announced that a convoy of fruit-laden trucks from Kashmir will proceed towards Muzaffarabad and called the people of Muslim majority areas in Jammu to march towards Rawalakote.
People’’s Democratic Party also supports the move, urging to open the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route for movement of goods. It has also sought opening of links like Suchetgarh-Sialkote, Rawakot-Poonch and Kargil-Skardu roads.
Security has also been beefed up across the Line of Control in view of the march.
Earlier, the fruit growers and dealers association of Kashmir had sought the support of HC for taking fruit trucks to outside markets through Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road after the blockade of the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway by agitators in Jammu hit their fruit industry hard.
Meanwhile, a fleet of 45 State Road Transport Corporation trucks have been pressed into service to transport fresh fruit from Srinagar by the authorities and special All India permit on temporary basis has been arranged for these trucks to carry fruits outside the state, official sources said.
Another 45 civilian trucks attached with the Army have also been diverted for transportation of fresh fruit from the Valley, the sources added.
Traders want an alternate route to transport their stuff to the markets in Delhi and Ahmedabad, saying they have already suffered losses of over Rs.200 crore as fruits in the Sopore fruit market are rotting.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil asked the traders not to go ahead with the idea of marching to Muzaffarabad with fruit trucks while assuring them smooth passage of trucks on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. “I hope it will not be done and it should not be allowed. They should not take that route. It is wrong for them and us also,” said Patil.
The Government has already put the HC leaders like Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shabir Shah under house arrest to thwart their move to march to Muzafarabad.
Meantime, tensions remain high in the state, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all set to begin a three-day nation-wide agitation today in support of the protests in Jammu over the Amarnath land transfer row.
On Sunday, leaders of Shri Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti (SASS), the group spearheading the agitation in Jammu, held their first round of talks with an all-party delegation led by Patil. No headway was made as the members of the SASS stuck to their demand for restoration of land to Amarnath shrine board and removal of Governor N. N. Vohra.
The unrest has gripped the region for the past five weeks. Constant shutdowns, highway blockade and curfews in the state have affected the business and normal life in the region. (ANI)

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