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No response to Hurriyat shutdown call

The shutdown called on Monday, against the alleged firing on prisoners in Kotebalwal jail drew poor response in the Valley.

india Updated: Dec 18, 2006 18:08 IST

The shutdown called by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (Geelani faction), Kashmir High Court Bar Association and Dakhtaran-e-Millat on Monday, against the alleged firing on prisoners in Jammu's Kotebalwal jail drew poor response in the Valley. Most of the shops, business establishments and other commercial institutions functioned normally. The transport plied as usual and the government and private offices also ignored the strike call. However, the lawyers boycotted the courts, paralysing the functioning in Srinagar.

The separatists groups on Sunday had alleged that the police fired upon the jailed persons in Kotebalwal jail, killing three and injuring over 30 others. They had asked the people across the state to observe strike in protest against the police action.

In Srinagar the shops remained shut in the morning but opened after it became known that no prisoner was killed. The transport however plied right from the morning. The government offices and banks also functioned normally. Reports from other towns and district headquarters also suggested "no response" to the strike call.

Kotebalwal jail caught the media headlines on Sunday after rebellion by the jailed terrorists against the jail authorities over "harassment, torture and imposition of ban on collective prayers of the prisoners." The jailed persons occupied the rooftops of the jail barracks and raised slogans against the jail authorities who had to summon additional forces to cane charge those who resorted and fired tear smoke shells on the rebellious prisoners to take the situation under control. Several jailed persons were reported to have got injured in the police action.

Democratic Freedom party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah, JKLF chairman Mophammad Yaseen Malik and National Front chairman Naeem Khan condemned the police action against the jailed persons. In a statement Shabir Shah described the incident as "painful" and alleged that the government excesses against the people of Kashmir have touched a new height. "We are not spared even in jails", he said.

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First Published: Dec 18, 2006 18:04 IST