Shut down leaves normal life paralyzed in Kashmir

August 23rd, 2008 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 23 (IANS) Normal life across the Kashmir Valley remained paralyzed for the second day Saturday in response to a two-day shutdown called by the separatists as markets, educational institutions and banks remained shut and transport was off the roads.In summer capital Srinagar, a trickle of two-wheelers periodically broke the disturbing silence on the roads.

Reports from other district headquarters including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Badgam, Baramulla, Bandipora, Ganderbal and Kupwara said the shut down was total.

Attendance in government offices was thin due to the non-availability of public transport in the city.

The separatists have called for yet another march to the city centre of Lal Chowk on Monday to internationalize the Kashmir dispute.

Barring a three-day spell of normalcy earlier this week, life remained out of gear in the Valley for the last fortnight with the protests and violence spearheaded by the separatists.

The present agitation began against the allotment of 40 hectares of forest land to the Hindu shrine board that manages the affairs of the two-month long annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.

The “economic blockade” of the Jammu-Srinagar highway and the heavy losses incurred by the local fruit industry have catapulted the earlier protests into a full fledged secessionist campaign with tens of thousands of locals responding to the calls of separatist leaders who are precariously trying to hold on to their unity despite ideological and political differences.

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