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Strike hits normal life in Kashmir, Amarnath yatra suspended

July 08, 2018 13:32 IST

IMAGES: Security personnel guard blocked roads in Tral during a curfew in view of the strike called by separatists on second death anniversary of Burhan Wani on Sunday. All Photographs: Umar Ganie for

Normal life was disrupted in Kashmir on the second death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani on Sunday as separatists called for a strike while authorities imposed restrictions in parts of the Valley.

Restrictions have been imposed in five police station areas of Srinagar, a police official said.

He said the five police stations -- Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maharajgunj -- were all in the old city areas of summer capital Srinagar.

The official said restrictions were imposed in Pulwama and Tral townships of Pulwama district in south Kashmir as well.


He said the curbs were imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order and to avoid any untoward incident.

Meanwhile, thousands of people including Amarnath pilgrims were left stranded on Sunday as authorities suspended traffic on Jammu-Srinagar national highway and Mughal road connecting Kashmir with rest of the country.

Director General of Police S P Vaid had on Saturday announced suspension of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra for the day on Sunday in view of the strike call given by separatists to mark the second death anniversary of Wani.

"No yatri was allowed to move from Bhagwati Nagar base camp and those who have arrived in the winter capital and heading for Kashmir on their own were also stopped at various places along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway," a government official said.

He said the step was taken as a precautionary measure in view of the separatist sponsored strike.

During a visit to Kathua district to review arrangements for Amarnath pilgrims on Saturday, the police chief announced suspension of the yatra for the day and sought cooperation from the pilgrims.

"Security and facilitation of yatris is our top priority. My appeal to the pilgrims is that they should cooperate with us keeping in mind the (law and order) situation in the Valley," the DGP said.

A traffic police official in the highway township of Ramban said over 2,000 tourists including yatris were stopped from proceeding to Kashmir from Jammu on Saturday evening.

"The traffic on highway was suspended due to situation in the Valley. No vehicle was allowed to move from Jammu towards Srinagar since this (Sunday) morning," he said.

The officer said security forces were deployed in strength in Banihal town along the highway, the only all-weather over 260-km-long road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, which observed a shutdown in response to the separatist sponsored strike call.

A traffic spokesman in Jammu said the traffic was also suspended on Mughal road, an alternate link connecting the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region with Shopian district in south Kashmir, as a precautionary measure.

Wani -- resident of Tral and the poster boy of militancy in Kashmir -- was killed in an encounter with security forces in Kokernag area of Anantnag district on July 8, 2016.

His killing triggered massive protests and prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the valley.

As many as 85 persons were killed and thousands others were injured in daily clashes between security forces and protestors for a period of over four months.

The separatists -- under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) -- appealed people to observe a complete shutdown and had also announced that they would hold a general public meeting in Tral on Sunday.

In the wake of killing of three youth, including a girl, in alleged firing by security forces at Kulgam on Saturday, the JRL asked people to observe on Sunday as a black day.

In view of the strike, shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut across Srinagar, the official said.

He said public transport was off the roads, while few private cars and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in some areas of the city.

The strike also affected the weekly flea market. He said similar reports of shutdown were received from other district headquarters of the valley.

Mobile Internet services were suspended throughout Kashmir as a precautionary measure, while security forces were deployed in strength at sensitive places across the valley to avoid any untoward incident.

Separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are under house arrest, while Yasin Malik was detained from his residence on Friday and remains in custody.

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