Normal life was paralysed on Monday across Kashmir valley following a strike called by hardline faction of the Hurriyat conference against alleged destruction of houses in Sopore by Army during a four—day encounter with militants last month.

At least 32 houses were damaged in the encounter which took place at Chinkipora locality in Sopore, 55 km from here on February 23 between security forces and militants. In the gunbattle, four security personnel including an Army officer were killed. Two terrorists were gunned down by the Army.

Acting on a tip-off that some militants were hiding in the locality, the army had cordoned off the area and launched a house-to-house search. During the operation, the terrorists hiding there opened fire, triggering a gun battle.

The Hurriyat conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani alleged that the troops during the siege operation razed scores of houses and inflicted atrocities on civilians.

To prevent any untoward incident, authorities imposed prohibitory orders, banning assembly of five or more persons in the old city here, especially, in the areas falling under four police stations of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safa Kadal and Maharajgung.

Many parts of the Kashmir valley wore a deserted look with shops and business establishments closed and public transport off the road.

However, private vehicles were plying on civil line areas and inter-district routes.

Meanwhile, curfew continued for fourth successive day today in violence—hit villages of north Kashmir’s Pattan town.

“Curfew continued for the fourth day as a precautionary measure in the affected villages which witnessed clashes between two sects of a community over erection of a hoarding of a spiritual leader on Thursday, leaving 20 persons injured besides damage to many houses and shops,” police said.

The situation in Kangamdora, Hagarpora and adjoining villages in Pattan is tense, but under control, they said.

Senior police officers are camping in nearby Kangamdora to closely monitor the situation, they added.