Shutdown, curfew-like restrictions cripple life in Kashmir
Normal life was crippled in the entire Kashmir valley today where authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions even as separatists called for a shutdown on Martyrs Day, observed to commemorate 22 people killed in Srinagar on July 13, 1931.chandigarh Updated: Jul 13, 2012 19:58 IST
Normal life was crippled in the entire Kashmir valley on Friday where authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions even as separatist called for a shutdown on Martyrs Day, observed to commemorate 22 people killed in Srinagar on July 13, 1931.
However, movement of tourists and sightseeing activities remained unaffected.
Police and CRPF disallowed movement of people and vehicles since Friday morning in areas falling under at least five police stations in the old parts of Srinagar city.
"There was a heavy deployment of troops. Most lanes and by-lanes were manned by security personnel in riot gears. There was a deep sense of fear. We preferred to stay indoors," said Sajad Ahmad, a resident of Nowhatta.
Authorities had sanitised the area around the martyrs' graveyard near Naqshband Sahib to allow smooth movement of mainstream political parties, including chief minister Omar Abdullah. The area is very volatile and separatist sentiment runs very deep.
Security forces used concertina wires and iron barricades to seal major streets in the city. Uptown Srinagar observed thin traffic and very few shops were open in the wake of the separatists' shutdown call.
All major towns in north and south Kashmir also observed a shutdown on the occasion. Most streets in these towns wore a deserted look because people preferred to stay indoors and business establishments remained closed, including petrol stations.
The tourist stretch from Dalgate to Harwan, more than 25km long, however, witnessed movement of tourists as usual. Several shops were open to cater to tourists in the area. Tourist rush was observed in all the Mughal gardens in Srinagar and tourists places in north and south Kashmir.
"We could not plan long trips today. But we enjoyed in and around Dal Lake, where shops selling essentials were open and traffic movement was better," said Ramesh Sood, a tourist.
More than six lakh tourists have come to Kashmir this year. Thousands of them are at present putting up in Srinagar and other tourist places.
Dozens of vehicles arrived in the valley with fresh tourists on Friday. "We continue to get tourists. Political disturbance is not affecting tourist inflow this year," said Ateeq Ahmad, a hotelier, who owns a hotel in Lal Chowk. Shops catering to tourists were open in Dalgate area.