2-Day Strike Begins Over Guru’s Mortal Remains

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SRINAGAR: Shops remained closed in Srinagar and outlying towns on Wednesday to begin a two-and-a-half-day shutdown called by Syed Ali Shah Geelani to demand the return of the body of Muhammad Afzal Guru who was executed on February 9 in Delhi’s Tihar Jail in the parliament attack case.

Public transport stayed off the roads on most routes, but private vehicles plied normally, even as reports spoke of several government offices and banks remaining closed.

Clashes were reported from the Bandipur and Shopian towns, and at least one paramilitary man was said to have received injuries in brick-batting.

The government yesterday issued prohibitory orders under section 144 in Srinagar to bar the assembly of more than four persons, and said that “restrictions” would be enforced in sensitive areas.

Light deployments had been made in downtown Srinagar, but no untoward incidents were reported from the city.

Clashes broke out in central Bandipur where groups of youth had assembled for protests.

Stone-pelting groups were chased away by the police.

Prolonged street-battles were reported from the southern township of Shopian where forces personnel used cane charges and tear gas against youth hurling stones.

One CRPF jawan was injured in heavy stone-pelting by slogan-shouting crowds who were marching from the town’s Gagran Chowk.

The clashes had broken out when paramilitary men blocked the marching groups near their local camp.

Locals alleged that paramilitary men had entered a Power Development Department (PDD) office close by and beaten up staffers.

The CRPF has denied any such incident took place, but said that one of its men was injured by stones from protestors.  

The ongoing strike marks the beginning of what the chairman of the Hurriyat (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has declared would be a sustained campaign of shutdowns and protests to demand the return of Muhammad Afzal Guru’s mortal remains to his family.

It has come barely two days after the Valley emerged out of over a week of curfew overlaid with a separatist strike call following Guru’s execution.  

 

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