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JK: Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz under house arrest

May 29, 2010 19:43 IST

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat faction, was put under house arrest and prohibitory orders clamped in Srinagar on Saturday as separatists called a strike against the visit of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to Jammu.

A contingent of police and paramilitary personnel surrounded the residence of Mirwaiz and asked him not to venture out, official sources said.

They said the step was taken as a precautionary measure to prevent the Hurriyat leader from visiting Shopian, 55 kms from Srinagar, to take part in a protest to mark the first anniversary of the alleged rape and murder of two young women. A complete shutdown was observed in the town on Saturday.

Authorities deployed hundreds of police and paramilitary troops in the city to maintain law and order during the strike.

Prohibitory orders are being strictly enforced, especially in the four police stations of Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal and Maharaj Gunj in the old city.

The main roads have been blocked in most areas of the old city. Residents complained that they were not being allowed to move out of their houses.

As a result of restrictions in old city area and the strike called by hardline Hurriyat faction leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, normal life was disrupted in the city and other major towns, with shops and business establishments remaining closed and traffic remaining off the roads, the sources said.

"We have no personal animosity with Gandhi but she is visiting as the president of the Congress party. We believe that the party is mainly responsible for the present problems of Kashmiris," said Geelani, who was taken into preventive custody on Friday.

The separatist leader, who was placed under house arrest on May 23, was taken into preventive custody when he came out of his house, violating restrictions imposed on his movement by authorities.

Most educational institutions, banks and private institutions remained shut in most parts of the city. The attendance in government offices was thin, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the situation in Nadihal-Panzallah in Baramulla was tense as the bodies of the three youths allegedly killed in a fake encounter were buried in their ancestral graveyard today, amidst protests by locals.

The bodies were exhumed on Friday on the direction of Deputy Commissioner (Kupwara) Showkat Ahmad Mir after the state government ordered a magisterial inquiry into the episode.

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