Normal Life Hit in Old City

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SRINAGAR: Businesses were hit key commercial area of the old city on Tuesday as the traders, joined by locals,  there staged protests against the arrest spree of youth.

Protests were staged in Nauhatta and Gojwara against the arrests of scores of youth and President, Gojwara Bazar Committee, Asif Ali Qazi.

Superintendent of Police, City North said that Qazi was involved in various cases and was being questioned by police at the moment. “He is not only involved in stone pelting but there were reports that he was front runner in instigating youth for violence,” SP, City North, Tahir Saleem said.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Nouhatta and its adjoining areas as shopkeepers and people erected a tent in the middle of the road and demanded the release of arrested youth. Complete shutdown was observed in Nowhatta, Khawaj Bazar, Gojwara, Hawal and other parts of old city. Agitated youth at number of places raised anti-police slogans and burnt tyres on roads. Angry youth and women came on roads and demanded the immediate release of arrested youth. “During nocturnal raids, police has arrested dozens of youth while their relatives are not being allowed to meet them,” a protestor said.

All the members of Joint Coordination Committee Shaher-e-Khaas including, Bazar Committees of, Nallah Mar Road, Rajouri Kadal, Islamia College, Gojwara, Kathi Darwaza, Buha-ud-Din Sahib, Khawaja Bazar, Saida Kadal, Ranger Stop, Pandan, Malaratta, Bohri Kadal and Jamia Market shopkeepers participated in the sit-in.

They claimed that police has let loose a reign of terror and it is even not sparing the business community now. “Our president is not involved in stone pelting. How can you believe that an elderly man will pelt stones? There is no justification of his arrest and we will not open our shops till Asif Ali Qazi was not released,” one of shopkeepers said.

A trader said that they were called by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Baseer Ahmed Khan who assured them of his release. “DC Srinagar told us that he will personally look into the matter and we should call off our strike. But we refused to budge and categorically told the officer that till the release of our president strike will continue,” he said.

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