Srinagar Deserted and Tense
SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown is being observed in Kashmir Valley with the Jammu and Kashmir Police cracking down on the separatist leadership a day ahead of today’s strike call against the proposal of building colonies for ex-servicemen and Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
The capital Srinagar wears a deserted look with police and paramilitary personnel wearing riot gear deployed at strategic locations across the city even as the authorities imposed curfew-like restriction in six police station areas of old city to foil protests.
All the shops, private businesses and educational institutes are closed in the city in the view of the strike call. Although public transport is shut, few private vehicles were plying on the roads. The proceedings of the state legislature, which is meeting for the budget session, are, however, going on normally.
The shutdown call against setting up of separate colonies for ex-servicemen and migrants Kashmiri Pandits by separatists has evoked positive response across the Valley including Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Sopore, Baramulla, Kulgam and other district centres where life has come to a grinding halt.
Although there are no reports of any protests or clashes, authorities have heightened the presence of security forces in "sensitive" places of the Valley following the strike call of the separatist leaders who have been meeting to chalk out a joint strategy against the proposals.
To foil any protests, all the top separatist leaders including veteran Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Geelani, moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chief Yasin Malik and nearly a dozen leaders and activists have been either arrested or detained in their homes to foil the protests.
Mirwaiz was detained at his home on Wednesday when he was leaving to chair a meeting of the Hurriyat's executive council here. JKLF chief was arrested after he visited the Sarai Bala locality in Srinagar where two suspected militants were gunned down on Monday while Geelani is already under house-arrest.
The strike call was also issued against other controversial issues “aimed at targeting the special status of Jammu and Kashmir” by the “local stooges” of the “RSS government”. The coalition government is facing heat from the opposition in the legislature on similar reasons.