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Restrictions thwart Shopian march

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Mirwaiz, Geelani barred from moving towards Shopian

A complete shutdown was observed in Shopian today against the civilian killings. Photo/Muneeb Ul Islam

Srinagar, Mar 07: Authorities on Wednesday imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar and Shopian districts in view of a strike and a protest march called by the separatists against shifting of Kashmiri prisoners out of the Valley and killings in a firing incident on Sunday.

Restrictions were imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar and the entire Shopian district.

Officials said strict restrictions under Section 144 CrPc were imposed in Shopian and in Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal and M R Gunj police station areas of Srinagar. Partial restrictions were also in force in Maisuma and Kralkhud areas of the city, the official said.

Separatists  -- Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik  -- had called for a strike and a march to Shopian in south Kashmir to protest the killing of six persons, including two militants, in Sunday's firing incident in Shopian's Pahnoo area.

Earlier they had called for a complete shutdown today against the shifting of Kashmiri prisoners to jails outside the Valley.

After the killings in Shopian, the separatists called for a march to Shopian as well.

While the Army has said the slain youth were militants and their overground workers, police has said they are investigating the incident. Locals maintain that four of the six people killed were civilians and that they had nothing to do with militancy.

Meanwhile, normal life was affected elsewhere in the city here as most of the shops, business establishments and fuel stations were shut, while public transport remained off the roads.

Private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in the areas of the city where there were no restrictions, and roadside vendors in these areas also went about their business as usual.

Similar reports were also received from other district headquarters of the Valley.

Meanwhile, police has issued an advisory for citizens, seeking their cooperation and asking them not to pay heed to rumours in the wake of restrictions.

Meanwhile, while JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik is already undergoing preventive detention in Srinagar Central jail, police today detained chairman of Hurriyat-M Mirwaiz Umar Farooq as he tried to march towards Shopian town in south Kashmir to protest against the killings in the firing incident on Sunday night.

Mirwaiz and his supporters came out of the his Nigeen residence carrying placards and a banner, demanding an end to civilian killings and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

However, a posse of policemen was waiting outside the Mirwaiz residence and took the Hurriyat-M chairman into preventive custody.

The authorities had placed Mirwaiz under house-arrest in order to prevent him from visiting Shopian.

Geelani was also barred by authorities from moving towards Shopian on Wednesday.

The spokesperson of the amalgam said all the roads leading to Geelani’s residence were sealed by government forces, while barricades were also erected outside his office.

“Geelani Sahab came out of his residence-cum-office at 12:15 noon, but the police and CRPF didn’t allow him to visit Shopian,” said the spokesperson.

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