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Kashmir shuts down over talks on Kashmir

Jan 17, 2007:

Normal life came to a standstill in Kashmir valley today as hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for a complete shut down in protest against the talks between moderate faction of hurriet leaders and leaders of India and Pakistan.

Hurriet leaders led by Mirwaiz are going to meet leaders from Pakistan and India in the coming weeks for talks on Kashmir issue.

Geelani, who also heads the hardline faction of Hurriet Conference, opposes the talks and says only implementation of United Nations resolution will solve Kashmir problem.

Transport was off the road and the streets presented a deserted look with only patrolling policemen and stray animals visible at some places. Shops and other commercial establishments also downed their shutters.

The attendance in government offices was at its lowest, as the employees struggled to reach their offices in the absence of transport.

The last few days have witnessed a renewed tension between various separatist camps over their views on resolution of Kashmir dispute.

A rifle grenade was also fired towards the residence of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate faction of APHC on January 15, with no loss of life.

Mirwaiz supporters protested against this and even blamed Geelani for the act, which the latter vehemently denied.

The success of today’s strike is attributed to this tense atmosphere where majority of the people preferred to remain indoors. The enhancement of security arrangements prior to India’s republic day celebrations due on January 26 have an added impact on the strike.

Police and para military personnel were also deployed at various places to thwart any untoward incident or protest demonstration by supporters of Geelani.


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