Separatist shutdown affects life in Kashmir valley again

September 8th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Sep 8 (IANS) Normal life across the Kashmir valley was hit again as a separatist shutdown was observed Monday to coincide with a meeting of all mainstream political parties called by the Election Commission for assembly polls in the troubled state. The shutdown has been called by the joint coordination committee of both the Hurriyat groups against the all-party meet in New Delhi.

Traffic remained off the roads, and educational institutions, markets and banks remained closed throughout Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar. Government offices recorded thin attendance due to the absence of public transport.

Reports from district headquarters of Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Badgam, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian also indicated that the shutdown had a near total response there.

Members of coordination committee of two factions of the Hurriyat Conference met Sunday at the residence of hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani to decide on the programme for the week starting Monday.

Geelani, who chaired the meet, has issued a month-long separatist calendar. According to the schedule, the march to the city centre Lal Chowk would now be held Oct 6 after the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Separatists had earlier called the Lal Chowk march on Aug 25, but it could not be held because of curfew imposed by authorities that day.

Geelani has, however, asked markets and educational institutions to remain open here on Sundays to “make up for the lost time because of the shutdowns in the valley”.

On Sunday, he had said that the shutdown was also being called “against the brutal killing of a youth in Nowhatta Saturday by the police and the decision of the government to detain and shift senior separatist leaders to jails outside the valley”.

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