Strike disrupts normal life

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Mar 20: Normal life remained disrupted across Kashmir valley in response to a separatist sponsored strike call but situation mostly remained peaceful with isolated incidents of protests and stone pelting reported from few places.
Shops and business establishments in the summer capital Srinagar remained mostly closed. However, in the outskirts of Srinagar and some Civil Lines area, majority of the shops were open.
Government offices and banks remained mostly open but attendance was around 60-70 per cent due to lack of public transport. Majority of the educational institutions remained closed due to strike. However, schools in the rural areas were mostly open.
The public transport remained off the roads in most of the major towns of Kashmir valley. However, some vehicles were plying in Lal Chowk and the adjoining areas. Private cars were plying normally on all the major routes in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir valley.
Strike also paralysed life in other major towns of Kashmir valley with shops and business establishments remaining closed. Public transport was also off the roads. Private cars were plying normally.
The work in the courts remained suspended as the lawyers boycotted the courts in response to the strike call.
Protests were reported from Batmaloo area of Srinagar where some youth pelted stones on the vehicles but they were chased away by police. Stone pelting incidents and protests were reported from Bohri Kadal area of Srinagar but police and CRPF brought the situation under control.
In South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town people came out on the National Highway and protested against the arrest of youth in the area. However, police intervened and released the youth. The protesters later dispersed.
A police spokesman today said here that situation across the Kashmir remained peaceful throughout the day. “However, in the evening one civilian Dr Faheem was injured when some miscreants pelting stones from a by lane at Bohari Kadal, Srinagar, while he was going on his Scooter. The injured was shifted to hospital for treatment”, the spokesman added.
Today’s strike was called by Majlis Mashawarat (Consultation Committee), of the separatist groups. The Majlis, has both factions of Hurriyat Conference, JKLF, Kashmir Bar Association and Dukhtaran-e-Millat as constituents.
The Majlis had called for a complete shutdown in the Valley against the house arrest and detention of separatist leaders and in support of demand to seek return of mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru who was executed on February last month and that of executed JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat. Bhat was hanged and buried inside the Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984, after he was convicted for murdering a police officer.