Strike cripples normal life in Kashmir

Strike cripples normal life in Kashmir
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Srinagar, Mar 5: Normal life was on Tuesday crippled in the valley due to a day-long strike called by Kashmir-based trade bodies against banning of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and 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 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 11.
Shops and business establishments were closed though good number of private and some public transport, including cabs and three-wheelers, were plying on roads in uptown and civil lines. Roadsides vendors, selling fruits and vegetables, have setup their stalls, mostly in uptown, where some shops were also partially open.
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), Batamaloo, 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.
The trade bodies of Kashmir valley, including Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), on Monday called for a day-long strike on Tuesday against JeI ban and alleged attempts to tamper with Article 35-A. Denouncing the ban imposed on JeI, the trader bodies alleged that New Delhi was pushing the people of Kashmir from ‘frying pan to the fire’.
The Union Cabinet, under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 28 banned Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir for five years, alleging that it was “in close touch with militant outfits and expected to escalate secessionist movement in the state”.
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.
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, Kulgam 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.
Normal life was also paralyzed in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal.