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Rediff News  All News  » News » Top cleric detained ahead of march to gutted Sufi shrine

Top cleric detained ahead of march to gutted Sufi shrine

June 29, 2012 11:20 IST

Life across Kashmir Valley remained disrupted for the fifth day on Friday due to a strike called by Grand Mufti of the state over gutting of the 200-year-old Dastageer Sahib shrine even as restrictions continued on movement of people in the old city.

In view of the proposed march to the gutted shrine on Friday, the government has placed the Grand Mufti Bashiruddin Ahmad, his deputy Mufti nasir-ul Islam and the entire separatist leadership under house arrest.

"The Grand Mufti and other members of the state muslim Personal Law Board have been placed under house arrest. We condemn this action of the government," Islam, who is also a member of the board, told PTI.

Police sources said top separatist leaders, including chairmen of both factions of the Hurriyat Conference, have also been placed under house arrest as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in the Valley.

The Grand Mufti had called for a march to the Dastageer Sahib Shrine, which was gutted in a fire incident on Monday. He had also called for a two-day strike, which will end on Friday.

Schools, colleges, offices, shops and other commercial establishments remained closed due to the strike.

Public transport was off the roads in most parts of the Valley but some private vehicles could be seen on roads.

Attendance in government offices was also thin.

As a preventive measure to maintain law and order, Srinagar District Magistrate Baseer Ahmad Khan has ordered imposition of restrictions on movement of people and transport in six police station areas of the old city.

The police station areas where curfew-like restrictions have been imposed include Khanyar, Maharaj Gunj, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and Kralkhud.

While clashes erupted on Monday between protestors and police after the shrine was gutted in a fire, the Valley observed a shutdown on Tuesday on a call given by separatist groups. A spontaneous bandh was observed on Thursday

The state government has ordered a probe into the fire incident and announced that the shrine will be reconstructed.

Additional policemen and CRPF personnel have been deployed in the old city and other vulnerable areas of the city like Maisuma to maintain law and order.

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