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Updated: May 29, 2010 17:17 IST

Mirwaiz under house arrest, separatists call strike

PTI
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Chairman of the Moderate Faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. File photo
PTI Chairman of the Moderate Faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. File photo

Chairman of moderate Hurriyat faction Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was put under house arrest and prohibitory orders clamped in the old city today as separatists called a strike against the visit of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi to Jammu.

A contingent of police and paramilitary personnel surrounded the residence of Mr. Mirwaiz and asked him not to venture out, official sources said.

They said the step was taken as a precautionary measure to prevent the Hurriyat leader from visiting Shopian, 55 kms from here, to take part in planned protest to mark the first anniversary of the alleged rape and murder of two young women. A complete shutdown was observed in the town today.

Authorities deployed hundreds of police and paramilitary troops in the city to maintain law and order during the strike.

Prohibitory orders are being strictly enforced, especially in the four police stations of Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal and Maharaj Gunj in the old city.

The main roads have been blocked in most areas of the old city. Residents complained that a curfew-like situation was prevailing and they were not being allowed to move out of their houses.

As a result of restrictions in old city area and the strike called by hardline Hurriyat faction leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, life remained disrupted in the city and other major towns with shops and business establishments remaining closed and traffic remaining off the roads, the sources said.

“We have no personal animosity with Gandhi but she is visiting as president of Congress party. We believe that the party is mainly responsible for the present problems of Kashmiris,” Mr. Geelani, who was taken into preventive custody yesterday, said.

The separatist leader, who was placed under house arrest since May 23, was taken into preventive custody when he came out of his house violating restrictions imposed on his movement by authorities.

Most of the educational institutions, banks, private institutions remained closed in most parts of the city. The attendance in government offices was thin, the sources said.

However, tourist destinations were not affected by the strike and traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was normal.

Meanwhile, situation in Nadihal-Panzallah in Baramulla was tense as bodies of three youths allegedly killed in a fake encounter were buried in their ancestral graveyard today, admit protests by locals.

The bodies were exhumed yesterday on the direction of Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Showkat Ahmad Mir after the state government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the episode.

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