Kashmir shut during President's visit
A general shutdown was observed in Kashmir valley today against the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee. In response to a call by senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Srinagar wore a deserted look as shops, schools and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.india Updated: Sep 27, 2012 19:56 IST
A general shutdown was observed in Kashmir valley on Thursday against the visit of President Pranab Mukherjee.
In response to a call by senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, summer capital Srinagar wore a deserted look as shops, schools and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.
Security forces were deployed in huge numbers in old city areas of Srinagar, while Mukherjee addressed the 18th convocation of Kashmir University on the banks of Dal Lake in city outskirts.
Police resorted to use of pepper guns to disperse small groups of stone-pelting youth in old city. However no one was injured in the clashes.
Geelani said he had no personal enmity with Mukherjee, but stated that "the head of the country which has denied us our right to freedom and hold us slaves by force cannot be welcome".
The day also witnessed a protest by a mainstream independent lawmaker, Sheikh Abdul Rasheed, demanding clemency to parliament-attack convict, Mohammed Afzal Guru from the president.
The Langate MLA, known for raising controversial issues in the assembly, marched to the city centre, Lalchowk, along with dozens of his supporters "to remind Mukherjee of his assurance regarding the Afzal Guru case before being elected as the president".
"Before becoming the president, Pranab Mukherjee visited Kashmir for garnering support for his presidentship. During the visit, he had assured me to have a sympathetic look into the case. I just wanted to remind him."
The march dispersed peacefully.
The strike also disrupted life in other towns of the valley.