» News » Separatist shutdown hits life in Kashmir

Separatist shutdown hits life in Kashmir

Last updated on: February 20, 2010 21:05 IST

At least 18 people, including six policemen, were injured as protesters clashed with security men during a separatists-sponsored general strike against alleged human rights violations in the state, disrupting normal life across Kashmir on Saturday.

Police opened several rounds of fire in the air to disperse an agitated group trying to storm a police station at Baramulla district town, 55 kms from Srinagar, official sources said.

Police fired in the air as bursting of teargas shells and cane charge proved ineffective on the stone-hurling protesters who also tried to set ablaze a police vehicle.

Many parts of the Valley bore a deserted look during the strike called by the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference as shops and business establishments in Srinagar and other major towns remained closed.

Functioning of government offices, public undertakings, banks and courts was also hit due to non-availability of transport facilities, they said.

Earlier, in the day police and protesters clashed in Srinagar in which 14 people, including six policemen, were injured.

Despite tight security arrangements, groups of youth also clashed with police at Maisuma and adjoining areas in the heart of the city, resulting in minor injuries to four persons.

Police also burst teargas shells and used batons in Maisuma and surrounding areas to restore law and order. Trouble started around noon in Maisuma area, which houses the headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.

Protesters demanded the release of a local youth, Owais alias "Mandela", who was picked up by police from Chattabal locality in Srinagar on Friday evening over alleged involvement in stone-throwing incidents.

The strike call was given against alleged increase in civilian killings, atrocities and mass arrests.

Fearing trouble, authorities had issued prohibitory orders under six police stations restricting movement of people in the Old City so as to prevent processions and demonstrations.

Residents of Old City alleged that curfew has been imposed and that they were not allowed outdoors. However, a police spokesman said curfew was not imposed in any part of the city, but prohibitory orders were enforced.

As the day advanced, restrictions were eased but police and paramilitary forces remained deployed in strength. Though public transport had gone haywire, private vehicles were plying on inter-district routes.

Traffic remained unaffected on Srinagar-Jammu National highway, the only road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.

© Copyright 2019 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.