Jammu and Kashmir police detained several trade union leaders hours before they were to hold a rally on Monday to mark the anniversary of the last year's floods, which claimed 300 lives and left tens of thousands homeless.
The rally was scheduled to be held at the state's commercial centre Lal Chowk to protest the Centre's and also the state government's "failure" to rehabilitate flood victims.
The authorities also imposed restrictions on movement of people and vehicles in and around Lal Chowk. The Kashmir Economic Alliance, an umbrella body of various trade unions and economic forums, had also called for a shutdown on Monday.
Office bearers of KEA and also another trade union alliance, the Kashmir traders and manufacturers Federation (KTMF), were, however, arrested during noctornal raids in the wee hours on Monday. KEA chairman Showkat Chowdhary was lodged at police station Zakura and KTMF chief Mohammad Sadiq Baqal at Chanapora police station.
"We were arrested early morning and lodged in different police stations," Baqal told Hindustan Times over phone from the police station. The shutdown call was supported by separatist leaders as well. As expected, police put JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik and head of the moderate Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under house arrest since Sunday night.
Leaders of the hradline faction of the Hurriyat, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, Raja Mehraj ud din and Ayaz Akbar, were arrested.
The hardline Hurriyat chief, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, continues to remain under house arrest for months.