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Fasting JKLF chief hospitalised

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: August 07, 2008 16:21 IST
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Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who was sitting on an indefinite hunger strike, was on Thursday afternoon shifted to a hospital after his condition deteriorated.

Malik began his fast outside the JKLF headquarters at Maisuma in the heart of summer capital Srinagar on Wednesday against what he called 'the economic blockade of Kashmir' and harassment of 'minority community members in Jammu region'.

As Malik's condition worsened on Thursday morning, doctors advised his immediate hospitalisation.

He was subsequently removed to Soura Medical Institute for treatment. Attending doctors at the Institute, however, said that the JKLF chairman was refusing to take intravenous feeding.

A spontaneous strike crippled life in Kashmir valley for the second day on Thursday.

Shops, businesses, schools, government offices and most of the bank branches are closed in Jammu.

Protestors shouting anti-government slogans took to streets in several localities of capital city, and north Kashmir apple rich Sopore town.

In the south Kashmir towns of Anantnag and Kulgam spontaneous protests broke out against the blockade of the national highway and of harassment of the local drivers.

Meanwhile, the state government has requisitioned more Central Reserve Police Force companies for deployment in the troubled areas of Jammu region to address the law and order situation there.

An official spokesman said, "Following organised efforts by the administration to normalize movement of load carriers on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, and instilling confidence among fruit growers and drivers, the flow of trucks carrying essentials and fresh fruit to and from Kashmir has considerably increased over the last couple of days."

"The steps taken by the government include providing escort service by the army to load carriers from Banihal to Lakhanpur, which has generated confidence among fruit growers of the Valley and drivers of the trucks carrying the horticulture produce and other merchandise to and from Kashmir," he added.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar