Kashmir Shut Down After Top Trader Receives NIA Summons
THE CITIZEN BUREAU
SRINAGAR: A partial to complete shutdown is being observed in Kashmir Valley today following the National Investigations Agency’s summons to a prominent trade leader with links to the separatists in the so-called ‘terror funding’ case.
Normal life was affected by the shutdown call given by the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation after its president, Yasin Khan, was summoned by the NIA in the ‘terror funding’ case in which close to dozen separatists and a photojournalist have been arrested.
The shutdown call has been backed by the transporters and the Hurriyat trio of Syed Ali Geelani, Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, alleging that the Centre was using NIA as a “war weapon” against Kashmiris. A Kashmir University scholar has also got summons in the case.
Reports said all shops, business establishments and some educational institutions are closed in Lal Chowk, the largest marketplace in the capital Srinagar while public transport is mostly off the roads. Private transport, however, is plying normally. Reports of shutdown were received from other parts of Valley as well.
To prevent any law and order problem, authorities have imposed restrictions in downtown Srinagar and other sensitive areas of the Valley where security has been beefed up and government forces in riot-gear have been deployed in strength. Train services has also been suspended in Kashmir in view of the strike called by traders’ bodies and Hurriyat leadership.
A government official said the service between Banihal and Baramulla will remain suspended today as "there are apprehensions of law and order disturbances in the valley in view of the strike call". “As a precautionary measure, Banihal-Baramulla rail service may please be suspended on September 25," read an official order.
The NIA has arrested at least seven Hurriyat leaders in connection with the case that came after a prominent Hurriyat leader, Nayeem Khan, was caught on camera confessing to organisation of protests and stone-pelting incidents in Kashmir.
In its latest action, the NIA also summoned Aala Fazil, who is pursuing a doctorate from Kashmir university, and Geelani-led Hurriyat members, Abdul Hameed Magrey and Wali Mohammed, to appear before the agency at its headquarters in New Delhi.
On May 30, the NIA registered a case against separatists, including unknown members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have been allegedly in collusion with Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba and other outfits for “raising, receiving and collecting funds through various illegal means, including hawala, for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir”.
The Hurriyat has rubbished the charges, alleging that the agency was being “used by New Delhi” to “defame the genuine political struggle” of people of Jammu and Kashmir.