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J&K crippled by strike against fake encounter killings
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | February 06, 2007 14:19 IST
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, on Tuesday began his protest fast against the recent fake encounter killings, even as the complete shutdown he called for hit normal life in the state.
Malik sat on the strike in Srinagar's Maisuma locality under a canopy on the road.
Scores of his supporters also joined the JKLF chief for support.
Talking to the press, Malik said the human rights violation were continuing and threatened to go on an indefinite fast.
"I will go on an indefinite hunger strike if the human rights violations are not halted in a month and a half," the JKLF chief told reporters as he began his three day long hunger strike.
Life in the state was marred by a near total strike in response to a general shutdown called by Malik. He had called the strike against what he called 'continued human rights violations in Kashmir'.
In the summer capital of Srinagar, shops, business establishments and public transport remained closed while private transport plied marginally.
Work in government offices and banks was adversely affected because of non-availability of public transport even as markets remained shut in all the major and minor towns of the valley in response to the protest call by JKLF, supported by the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
Scores of youths took to the streets, pelting stones on police. Cops used teargas and batons to disperse them.
The authorities have made elaborate security arrangements in Srinagar and other towns to foil violence, following last week's disclosures of fake encounter killings by the Special Operations Group, which shook the valley and spawned a bitter political debate and demands for an independent wider probe.
The state government has ordered a time bound judicial probe by a High Court judge to be completed within three months.
The police have already arrested the former Ganderbal police chief, H R Parihar, his deputy Bahadur Ram and four others in the fake encounter killing of five south Kashmir villagers in past one year.
Police resorted to firing teargas shells and cane charging to disperse a group of moderate Hurriyat Conference activists who were protesting against the fake encounters in the state.
At least 15 activists of the Kashmir Salvation Movement, including chairman Zafar Abdul Fateh, were taken into custody while trying to stage a demonstration outside the Rajbagh headquarters of the Hurriyat, officials said.
The nearly 100 protestors were asked by police to disperse peacefully as they did not have permission to stage a march. However, the protestors did not pay any heed to the advice, they said.
As the activists started shouting slogans, police resorted to cane charge and fired tear gas shells to disperse them.
With PTI inputs