Valley shuts to protest attacks on Kashmiris

Valley shuts to protest attacks on Kashmiris
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Srinagar, Feb 17: Life was on Sunday crippled in the Kashmir valley due to general strike called by traders in protest against attacks on students and other Kashmiri residents in Jammu and other parts of the country following death of 49 CRPF personnel in Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fidayeen attack on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Pulwama on Thursday afternoon.
Business and other activities remained paralysed and traffic was off the roads in Srinagar and other major towns and tehsil headquarters in the Kashmir valley, where internet mobile service of all Cellular companies has been blocked as a precautionary measure.
The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) and the Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) have called for a strike Sunday which was supported by High Court Bar Association (HCBA) and several other organizations in protest against attack on Kashmiris outside the valley. Traders in civil lines closed their establishments from 1500 hrs on Saturday and organized a dharna for some time in the Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city.
The 3-km-long famous Sunday market from Radio Kashmir, Srinagar crossing to Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), including Regal Chowk, Gantaghar and historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, remained closed. Hundreds of vendors who were putting up their stalls stayed away from the market in response to strike call. Vendors are doing business worth crores of rupees every Sunday, selling different items from a simple needle to carpets.
Shops and business establishments, which remain open on Sunday, are closed and traffic was off the roads in Srinagar and outskirts. Even roadsides vendors selling fruits and vegetables besides shopkeepers in the interior parts were closed.
The streets wore a deserted look with only security forces deployed in strength to maintain law and order. However, some private vehicles, including two wheelers were seen plying on some routes in the city.
The historic Jamia Masjid, stronghold of chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, were again closed. Large number of security forces have been deployed in the Jamia market to prevent people from entering the worship place. The security forces have also closed roads with barbed wire and by establishing naka in the down town and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK).
A report from Baramulla said that a complete shutdown was observed in this and other major towns and tehil headquarters in north Kashmir today. Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. Additional security forces have been deployed on all bridges over river Jehlum, connecting down town with civil lines in Baramulla. Reports of shut down were also received from other major towns and tehsil headquarters.
Security forces have also been deployed on Srinagar-Baramulla-Uri highway to prevent stone pelting.
Life was paralysed in this and other towns in south Kashmir, a report from Anantnag said. Business and other activities remained shut and traffic was off the roads. However, vehicles were plying on the national highway as authorities allowed one-way traffic from Kashmir to Jammu today. Security forces in strength have been deployed at sensitive places on the highway to prevent stone pelting.
Similar reports of strike were also reported from central Kashmir district of Budgam and Ganderbal.