SRINAGAR: The normal life in Kashmir was disrupted by the strike called by the separatist groups to protest arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students and former Delhi University Professor S A R Geelani on sedition charges for stating pro-Afzal Guru events in national capital.
Shops, business establishments and petrol pumps in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley remained closed while public transport was off the roads. The attendance in government offices was thin and banks remained closed on account of 4th Saturday.
Authorities had deployed police and paramilitary CRPF men in strength in sensitive areas of Srinagar and other towns of the Valley to prevent youth from taking to roads and staging anti-India demonstrations.
The train services in the Valley remained suspended while all Post Graduate entrance examinations scheduled for the day were postponed by Kashmir University.
Hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani and pro-independence JKLF had called for shutdown to protest against the arrest of JNU students leader Kanhaiya Kumar, Omar Khalid and others and SAR Geelani on sedition charges for staging pro-Afzal Guru events in national capital.
Three JNU students were arrested over an event commemorating 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on his third death anniversary on February 9. Anti-India slogans were raised during the event. SAR Geelani was also arrested on sedition and other charges for organising an event in support of Guru in national capital.
Afzal Guru was secretly hanged and buried in Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9, 2013.
On the call of the separatists, protests were held at many places of the Valley yesterday against the arrest of JNU students and SAR Geelani on sedition charges.
Ahead of separatists call for protests and shutdown, authorities had detained all top senior separatist leaders and activists in the Valley.
JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who had called for shutdown and was placed under house arrest, urged civil society and international human rights organizations to intervene and save JNU students and SAR Geelani from the wrath of Indian “oppressive behavior”.
Malik said former Indian home minister P Chidambaram, whose party hanged Afzal Guru, has confessed that Afzal Guru was not given a fair trial and his case was not decided rightly. “However, when JNU students, SAR Geelani and others spoke about the issue, they were labeled as traitors and media trial was launched against them and they were put behind bars.”
He demanded release of all the arrested JNU students and SAR Geelani and dropping of charges against them.