Traffic jams mark day of normalcy in Srinagar


Srinagar : Heavy traffic jams marked yet another day of normalcy in the Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Wednesday as no curfew was imposed and separatists froze their protests for a day as their top leader Masarat Alam is under arrest.

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“No curfew or restrictions have been imposed anywhere in Srinagar today. The situation is normal throughout the city,” a senior police officer said here.

The hardline Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani has asked people to resume normal activities of life for a day today. The separatists have been issuing protest calendars on a weekly basis since early June as part of their Quit Kashmir campaign.

Life has remained crippled throughout the valley for over four months now as shutdowns, protests, marches and the violence that invariably follows separatist protests has been prompting the authorities to impose curfews and restrictions.

At least 110 people have died so far in the ongoing unrest that started here June 11.

Senior police officials here believe the separatist protests and inciting of violence were orchestrated since June 11 by Masarat Alam, who was arrested here Monday and is the general secretary of the Geelani-led Hurriyat.

Alam had gone underground immediately after he jumped bail granted to him in June. “He has been chiefly responsible for inciting youth to violence and issuing protest calendars for shutdowns, sit-ins and marches,” a senior police officer told IANS here.

“His arrest has come as a setback to the separatist agenda of pushing the youth to violence and we hope things would soon return to complete normalcy here,” the officer said.

Alam’s arrest is also believed to be significant as most locals believe he had the capacity to organise protests and enforce shutdowns.

“He is generally believed to have started the Quit Kashmir campaign and coined the slogan ‘Go, India, Go’. But, still I believe the whole campaign could not have been spearheaded and visualised by Masarat Alam alone,” said a local journalist here.

“He had a cadre which enforced his programmes and the coming days would prove whether the entire agitation was a one-man show or not.”

Shops, public transport, educational institutions, banks, post offices and other businesses Wednesday opened up normally throughout Srinagar city and other towns of the valley except north Kashmir’s Baramulla town where clashes between stone pelting youths and security forces started early in the morning.