Separatist shutdown affects life in Srinagar

Srinagar, June 27 (IANS) A separatist-called shutdown to protest ‘police high-handedness’ affected normal life in Srinagar on Saturday.

The traffic on the strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway, however, moved without any hiccups.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group has called the shutdown against alleged high-handedness by police in the Jamia Masjid area of old city on June 26 during the Friday prayers.

The management of the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of old city Srinagar said police had fired tear smoke shells in the area, some of which landed inside the mosque.

Markets in Srinagar, both in the old city and uptown areas, remained closed and public transport stayed off the roads.

Banks, post offices and government offices functioned normally in the city and other places in the Valley although with reduced attendance in Srinagar due to non-availability of public transport.

Hardline senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has supported the shutdown.

A spokesman of the Geelani-led group of the Hurriyat conference said the octogenarian separatist leader had been prevented by the police from offering Friday prayers as the house arrest restrictions on Geelani were not lifted.

Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers in full riot gear have been deployed in the sensitive areas to ensure peace in the city.

Meanwhile, class work in the University of Kashmir remained suspended for the second day on Saturday as students were not allowed to entire the campus.

Violence had erupted inside the University on Thursday over the arrest of a student of English department by police.

While police said the arrested student had militant links, agitating students claimed he was innocent and should be released immediately.

University authorities ordered closure of all its hostels on Friday after which police help was sought to ensure that hostels were vacated by the resident students.

Police have refused to release the student asserting that the arrested student, Muzammil Ahmad who belongs to south Kashmir’s Pulwama district had militant connections.

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