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Separatists' strike cripples life in Valley

By Mukhtar Ahmad
April 13, 2010 12:58 IST

Life in Kashmir was in Tuesday paralysed in view of a strike called by the hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani against the conviction of six Kashmiris in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case in New Delhi.

Those convicted including Farida Dar, who heads the separatist Kashmir Mass Movement group, a constituent of the Geelani-led All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

The conviction of the accused in the case was ordered by a Delhi court last week.

Authorities imposed security restrictions in the areas falling under five old city police stations in the summer capital of Srinagar.

Heavy police and paramilitary, Central Reserve Police Force reinforcements were moved into the old city areas where road intersections were blocked by coils of razor fitted wire to scuttle pedestrian and vehicular movement.

Shops, businesses remained shut in capital city, where private transport was also off the roads. However, skeletal private transport was seen plying on the streets in Srinagar.

The state government offices, which are hit by the employees' strike, were also shut.

Police used tear smoke and baton charges to disperse slogan shouting and stone pelting groups of youth in the Maisuma locality of the uptown on Monday morning.

Activists of the Mass Movement group also held protests against the conviction of Farida Dar and others in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar.

Reports from other major towns of the Valley stated that Tuesday's strike has also hit normal life there.

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar