Seperatists' call for strike evokes little response in Srinagar

  • PTI, Srinagar
  • Updated: Jun 28, 2015 09:44 IST

The strike called by separatist groups in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, to protest the clashes between pro-separatist protestors and security forces evoked little response on Saturday.

Though shops were shut in Lal Chowk city centre, they were open in most other parts of the district, officials said.

Footpath and hand cart vendors went about their business as usual while public transport was plying normally at most of the places.

Government offices and banks functioned normally across Srinagar district, the officials said.

However, schools remained shut in the city as a precautionary measure towards safety of the students in the wake of the strike call, they said.

Clashes broke out yesterday between the protestors and security forces during which Pakistan and global terror outfit IS flags were raised by some youth in Nowhatta area here.

As soon as the Friday prayers were over at Jamia Masjid, a large number of youth raised pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans and tried to march towards Nowhatta Chowk, police said.

Chairman of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq claimed police fired tear smoke shells inside the mosque, terming the action as "interference in religious affairs".

The strike call was given by Anjuman Awqaf Jama Masjid, which manages the affairs of the grand mosque, to condemn the police action.

The strike was supported by the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who said the act caused "tremendous hardships to the devotees in the mosque who had assembled to offer Friday prayers there".

The strike was also supported by hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, JKLF and Kashmir Economic Alliance.

While condemning the "excesses" in Jamia Masjid and Kashmir University, where cops used batons to disperse a group of students demanding release of their colleague, who they claimed was arrested by police, Geelani said peaceful protest was a democratic right of every citizen.

"But Jammu and Kashmir has turned into a police state and the law and order has been practically suspended here. It has become norm in this troubled state that whatever be the purpose of the protest and whenever the people come out on the roads, a brutal force is used against them and they are beaten to pulp," he claimed in a statement.

Meanwhile, police put the Mirwaiz under house arrest late last night.

A heavy posse of policemen arrived at his Nigeen residence and informed him of his arrest, a Hurriyat spokesman said.

He said the authorities detained Mirwaiz to prevent him from leading a demonstration to protest the "desecration" of the mosque.

Geelani has been under house detention for most part of the past two months.

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