Kashmir shuts on Maqbool Bhat’s death anniversary

Kashmir shuts on Maqbool Bhat’s death anniversary

Srinagar, Feb 11: Life came to a grinding halt as shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in Kashmir valley due to a strike called by separatist on the death anniversary of founder of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.
The famous weekly Sunday market, which usually remains unaffected during strikes, also remained closed in the summer capital, Srinagar though some roadside vendors, including vegetable and fruit sellers, could be seen at Jehangir chowk.
All roads leading to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) office in Sonwar were closed since early Sunday morning to foil separatist plan to present a memorandum to the UN Secretary General.
Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of M R Gunj, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Safa Kadal and Khanyar in the down town and SeK since Sunday morning as a precautionary measure to prevent any law and order problem. Restrictions have also been imposed in some areas under the jurisdiction of police station Kralkhud in the old city and Maisuma in civil lines.
Shops and business establishments, which remain open on Sundays, were closed and traffic was off the road in civil lines and uptown Srinagar. However, few private vehicles, particularly two-wheelers, could be seen plying on some routes in the city.
Business and other activities were crippled in main business hubs of the city, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve-centre of summer capital, Budshah Chowk, Regal Chowk, Maisuma, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Batmaloo, Moulana Azad Road, Residency Road and Dalgate.
Additional security forces, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding weapons and lathis in their hands, were seen patrolling the streets in many sensitive areas in the city and outskirts to prevent any untoward incident.
Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising of both the factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF, had called for a strike on Sunday on the death anniversary of Bhat, who was hanged and later buried in Delhi’s Tihar jail on this day in 1984.
They had also urged people to march to United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) office in Sonwar to present a memorandum to the UN Secretary General.
The 3-km-long weekly market from Radio Kashmir (RK), Srinagar, crossing to Hari Singh High Streets (HSHS), including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, which usually attracts thousands of buyers from different parts of the valley, remained deserted in view of the strike. Train service was also suspended on Sunday for security reasons in view of threat perception in the valley.
A report from Anantnag said life was crippled in this and other south Kashmir towns and tehsil headquarters, where shops were closed and traffic was off the road in support of the strike.
Additional security forces have been deployed in entire south Kashmir, including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, to prevent any law and order problem. Security has also been stepped up along the Srinagar-Jammu national highway to prevent any protests.
Life also came to a grinding halt in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal in support of the strike called by separatists.
Hundreds of security forces and state police personnel were deployed in major towns and tehsil headquarters to stop protests, said a report from north Kashmir, where business and other activities were crippled and traffic was off the roads in support of the strike. Meanwhile, restrictions have been imposed in Trehgam, home town of Bhat, and adjoining areas in Kupwara to prevent any law and order problem.