Separatist shutdown, heavy snowfall hit life in Srinagar


Srinagar: Life across summer capital Srinagar was affected by a shutdown called Saturday by senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, although most people preferred to remain indoors due to overnight heavy snowfall and biting chill.

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Geelani was placed under house arrest by the authorities Friday in his uptown Hyderpora residence to prevent his participation in protests called by him.

Shops remained closed on the Residency Road, in the city centre Lal Chowk and most old areas of the city and very little traffic plied on the roads.

“The situation is completely normal across the Kashmir Valley and no untoward incident has been reported from anywhere,” a police official said.

He added: “The heavy snowfall that occurred during the night and continued till morning has affected normal activities.”

Geelani called for a shutdown across the valley to protest what he called “arrest of youth and even minors by the police in the aftermath of the over four months long summer unrest here”.

Reports from other district headquarters indicated life was adversely affected there, but it was unclear whether the separatist appeal for shutdown or the heavy snowfall has brought life to a halt in those places.

All the university exams scheduled for Saturday and Sunday have been cancelled by the authorities due to the heavy snowfall and fresh dates would be announced later, officials of the Kashmir University said here.

Geelani has rejected a 25 percent troop reduction in Kashmir, which was announced by union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai Friday in New Delhi.

“This is simply patchwork and the people have not felt any relief on the ground because of such announcements,” Geelani said in a statement in response to Pillai’s announcement.

“That is why we are demanding complete withdrawal of troops from Kashmir,” Geelani said.