Srinagar, April 11
Business and other activities remained paralyzed for the second successive day today due to a two-day strike called by separatists against the killing of eight youth in security force firing on anti-election protestors on April 9, when bypolls were held in Srinagar parliamentary constituency.
However, some private vehicles, besides two wheelers, could be seen plying on few routes in the summer capital, Srinagar. Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has deferred polling in Anantnag parliamentary bye-poll, which was scheduled to be held on April 12, following violence during bypolls in Srinagar Lok Sabha seat. A police official told that restrictions, which were imposed at some places in central Kashmir yesterday, have been lifted though security forces remained deployed in strength across the valley to maintain law and order.
But, shops and business establishments remained closed for the second day today in main business hubs the city, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of summer capital, Budshah chowk, Regal Chowk, Maisuma, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Batmaloo, Moulana Azad road, Residency road and Dalgate.
All roads leading to Maisuma, stronghold of JKLF, which were off limits from vehicular movement yesterday, were opened though hardly any vehicle was plying in the area, where all shops also remained closed in view of the strike call. Work in government offices, banks and other financial institutions, was also affected as most employees could not make it to their offices due to non availability of public transport. Educational institutions also wore a deserted look as students stayed away due to strike. The situation was no different in down town and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK), besides in uptown.
Hundreds of security force personnel, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding weapons and lathis in their hands, were seen patrolling the streets to prevent any untoward incident in the summer capital.
Meanwhile, internet service of all cellular companies, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Broadband, also remained suspended for the third day today in the valley.
Both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), spearheading the agitation demanding ‘right to self determination’, had called for a two-day strike from yesterday against civilian killings yesterday.
There was restriction in any part of Budgam though situation remained tense in view of killing of seven teenagers in security force firing on anti-election demonstrators on April 9. Security force personnel remained deployed in strength to prevent protests in Budgam, where shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the road for the second day following strike call by separatists. Similar reports were also received from central Kashmir district of Ganderbal, where traffic was off the road and business and other activities remained crippled.
Even though bypolls to Anantnag Lok Sabha seat was deferred by ECI till May 25 in view of the violence, hundreds of security forces and state police personnel, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding automatic weapons, were deployed in major towns and tehsil headquarters in south Kashmir, where life remained crippled for second day against the civilian killings. But, few vehicles could be seen plying on some routes in south Kashmir. Security has been stepped up along the national highway, which remained open for only one-way traffic. Business and other activities also remained crippled in Baramulla and other north Kashmir towns and tehsil headquarters, where shops were closed and traffic was off the road. Work in government offices was also affected in entire north Kashmir, where additional security forces had been deployed to prevent any law and order problem.