Kashmir separatist leaders call for shutdown on Republic Day
Separatist leaders called for a shutdown on Saturday on the occasion of celebrations associated with India's 64th Republic Day. Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for complete shutdown in Srinagar.
All shops, business establishments, schools, colleges and government offices remained closed. Rouf Ahmed Panjra, a local resident, said "The shutdown has been called by the Hurriyat Conference on the occasion of the 64th Republic Day. We have to face a lot of problems as we do not get any vehicle to commute. I had to walk 15 kilometres." In an attempt to avert any untoward situation, security personnel were deployed at vital places across the city. Kashmir, the trigger for two of the three wars between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both countries but ruled by them only in part. Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the heart of hostility between India and Pakistan and was the cause of two of their three full-scale wars. A tentative peace process is under way and ties between Islamabad and New Delhi are at their warmest in years, with recent high-level meetings. Indian forces have been fighting a separatist revolt in Kashmir since 1989. The government says nearly 50,000 people have been killed but rights groups say the toll is higher. Over the past few months, the Kashmir valley has been in a siege-like state of strikes, protests and curfews. Shops have remained shut, along with most schools, and daily activities are subject to severe disruption.--ANI