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Kashmir shuts down over Mirwaiz's Pak visit

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: January 17, 2007 17:02 IST
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Life in the Kashmir Valley was crippled on Wednesday by a near total shutdown following the protest call given by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the breakaway hardline group of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, against the moderate APHC's visit to Pakistan.

The three-member team of the moderate APHC, headed by Mirwaiz Moulvi Umer Farooq, began their Islamabad visit to meet the Pakistan leadership on Wednesday.

Shops, business establishments and public transport remained closed while private transport plied marginally in Srinagar.

Reports reaching Srinagar from all other major towns of the Valley also indicated a near total response to Geelani's shutdown call that had been supported by the frontline militant group Hizbul Mujahideen, women's separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Milat and some other separatist organisations.

Significantly, the shutdown call also impacted downtown Srinagar, which is otherwise seen as the bastion of the moderate APHC chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Umer Farooq, whose house was attacked by unknown assailants with a rifle grenade on Monday.

Police had made extensive arrangements to foil violence with contingents of local police patrolling all sensitive areas in the city.

Incidents of stone pelting were reported from some places in the city even though no major incident of violence was reported from anywhere.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar