Kashmir shuts against mass arrests, assault on Art 35-A

Kashmir shuts against mass arrests, assault on Art 35-A
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Srinagar, Feb 24: Normal life was on Sunday crippled in Kashmir valley as shops and business establishments were closed while traffic was off the roads due to a strike called by separatists against mass arrest of separatists and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders in the valley during the last 48 hours.
Meanwhile, restrictions were imposed in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of MR Gunj, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Safa Kadal and Khanyar in the downtown and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK) since Sunday morning as a precautionary measure, to prevent any violation of law and order.
The three-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 for the second successive week.
Shops and business establishments, which remain open on Sundays, were closed and traffic was off the road in restriction-free areas in Srinagar though few private vehicles, besides cabs and three-wheelers, could be seen plying on some routes. Even roadsides vendors selling fruits and vegetables besides shopkeepers in the interior parts were closed.
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 restriction-free areas to prevent any untoward incident.
Hundreds of vendors, who put up their stalls in the Sunday market, stayed away in response to strike call. Last week, the market was closed following a strike called by traders in protest against attack on students and other Kashmiri residents in Jammu and other parts of the country in view of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) fidayeen attack that left 49 CRPF jawans dead in Pulwama on February 14.
Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik, have called for a strike on Sunday against arrest of about 150 people, mostly Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.
Life also came to a grinding halt in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal in support of the strike called by separatists.
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.
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.