Strike cripples normal life in Kashmir

Strike cripples normal life in Kashmir
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Srinagar, Feb 27: Normal life was crippled due to a two-day strike from Wednesday called by separatists against raids conducted by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and mass arrests in the valley, besides alleged attempts to tamper with Article 35-A.
A police official said there were no restrictions in any part of the Srinagar city though security forces have been deployed in strength to maintain law and order.
However, all gates of historic Jamia Masjid, stronghold of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, have also been locked and nobody was being allowed to enter the worship place.
Meanwhile, security forces have closed one side of some roads in downtown Srinagar with barbed wires though traffic was allowed to ply from the other side of these roads.
Work in government offices and banks was also affected due to strike in the valley. However, educational institutions remained closed in view of government extending winter vacation till March 2.
Shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the road in Srinagar though few private vehicles, besides cabs and three-wheelers, could be seen plying on some routes. But, roadsides vendors, selling fruits and vegetables, have setup their stalls, mostly in uptown areas.
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 the city to prevent any untoward incident.
Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) — comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik — on Tuesday called for a two-day strike from Wednesday against raids conducted by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and mass arrests in the valley, besides alleged attempts to tamper with Article 35-A.
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, Pulwama and Shopian, to prevent any law and order problem. Business and other activities continued to remain closed for the fourth successive day on Wednesday in Kulgam, where three militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) were killed by security forces in an encounter at Turigam Yaripora on Sunday.
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.