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Separatist shutdown cripples life in Indian-controlled Kashmir


19:17, May 21, 2013

SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, May 21 (Xinhua) -- A shutdown call given by separatist group Tuesday has disrupted normal life in Muslim majority areas of Indian-controlled Kashmir, including summer capital city Srinagar.

Moderate separatist alliance Hurriyat (freedom) Conference, headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had called for a strike in the region and appealed people to assemble at Eidgah grounds in the old city.

The call was given to commemorate the death anniversary of the region's two slain leaders Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone.

Authorities had placed Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other leaders of the group under house arrest in a bid to prevent him from taking out a rally towards martyrs' graveyard at Eidgah to mark the anniversary.

Contingents of police and India's paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed at sensitive localities in Srinagar to foil attempts to take out a march.

Authorities have imposed prohibitory orders under government order Section 144 in Srinagar city and other towns. The order prohibits assembly of more than four persons in public place.

"The government has denied them (separatists) permission to take out rally and deputy commissioner of Srinagar has conveyed it to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq," said a senior official posted in Srinagar.

Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq, father of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was killed by assailants on May 21 in 1990 inside his residence. However, the senior separatist leader of Hurriyat Conference Abdul Gani Lone was killed on May 21, 2002 during one such anniversary function.

Previously authorities were allowing this rally.

Indian authorities fear that allowing separatists to hold rallies would fuel anti-India demonstrations in the region.

Meanwhile, business establishments, shops, schools and private offices remained closed in Srinagar and traffic was off the roads. Similar reports were received from other districts of the region.

Separatists in the region are demanding end of New Delhi's rule.

Reports said protesters clashed with contingents of police in few localities of old Srinagar. However, policemen chased away the protesters.

A guerrilla war is also going on between militants and the Indian troops stationed in the region since 1989. The gun fighting between militants and Indian army troops in Indian-controlled Kashmir takes place intermittently.

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