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Police foils Lal Chowk march

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Srinagar, Oct 23: Normal life in Srinagar once again remained affected on Tuesday as the authorities imposed restrictions in certain parts of the city to foil a sit-in protest by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) at Lal Chowk over the killing of seven civilians in a blast in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district Sunday.

All roads leading to city centre Lal Chowk's historic Ghanta Ghar (clock tower) were sealed with concertina wires while a large number of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed to foil any attempt by the separatists to reach there.

Last evening, the police issued an advisory asking commuters to use an alternate route as no traffic would be allowed between Amira Kadal and Regal Chowk.

The authorities had also imposed restrictions in parts of the old city as a "precautionary measure to maintain law and order”.

Shops, private offices and other business establishments remained shut in many parts of the Srinagar, while public transport was off the roads.

Authorities also suspended the high-speed Internet service in Srinagar in view of separatist march and sit-in.

An official said that the speed of mobile Internet service has been throttled to 2G in the capital city as a “precautionary measure”.

The separatists had not called for a strike on Tuesday, but the authorities had ordered closure of all schools and colleges and postponed examinations.

While a shutdown was observed Monday, the separatists called for a sit-in at Lal Chowk over the death of civilians in a blast at an encounter site in the Laroo area of Kulgam district in south Kashmir.

Three militants were killed in the Kulgam encounter Sunday, while seven civilians lost their lives in a blast following a gunfight.

The agitation programme was announced by separatists Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).

Malik who had gone into hiding to evade arrest was detained in Lal Chowk after he led a march of his supporters towards the clock tower.

“After evading arrest for two days, Yasin Malik managed to reach Lal Chowk this morning. He arrived at Masjid Sharif Koker Bazar before Nimaz-e-Fajr,” said a JKLF spokesman.

Malik was detained along with dozens of his supporters near the clock tower.

Addressing reporters before his detention, Malik warned of an agitation if the killings were not stopped in Kashmir.

Authorities also prevented Hurriyat-G chairman Syed Ali Geelani from marching towards Lal Chowk "by locking the main gate from outside", said his spokesman.

"Geelani was not allowed to move out of his ‘jail-cum-residence’, when according to already published program, he was scheduled to march towards Lal Chowk to express solidarity and lead a protest march against the Kulgam carnage," he said.

The spokesman said that a large contingent of police was deployed in and around the residence of Geelani and they locked the main gate from outside and didn’t allow anybody in or out.

Geelani, he said, has strongly condemned this "arrogant and inhuman police action”.

"In world’s largest and heavily militarized zone of Jammu and Kashmir, people are not even allowed to breathe freely. Their voice is choked and their human needs are curbed on the pretext of security," the spokesman quoted Geelani as having said.

He said that innocent lives are snatched by the barrel of gun and then people are not allowed to mourn these deaths.

Police also detained Hurriyat-M chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq after he defied his house-arrest and tried to march towards Lal Chowk

A spokesperson of the amalgam said a large posse of police personnel deployed outside the Nigeen residence of Mirwaiz detained him after he defied his house arrest and tried to march towards Lal Chowk.

He said Mirwaiz was lodged at Nigeen police station.

Addressing media-persons before his detention, Mirwaiz said people of Kashmir should remain united as they exhibited the unity during protests against assault on Article 35-A.

Mirwaiz said people of Kashmir and Hurriyat resistance leadership can't afford killings each day. “…people of Kashmir have lost faith in inquires and probes ordered from last 30 years,” he said.

Police also prevented Kashmir Inc. from marching towards Lal Chowk.

KCCI secretary general, Farooq Amin, in a statement issued here said the KCCI members were prevented from proceeding towards Lal Chowk.

“Despite strict restrictions, a large number of members of the Chamber participated in the protest march,” he said.

The members, however, held their sit-in at Regal Chowk, read the statement.

The statement said that “every killing, every hartal, every strike and every large-scale disturbance demands and calls for the resolution of the dispute of our state.

Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation (KTMF) – an amalgam of several trade bodies – also held a protest in Srinagar against the Kulgam civilian killings.

Scores of KTMF members, led by Yasin Khan took out a protest march through Residency road and staged a sit-in at Regal Chowk where police had erected a barricade.

The protesters were carrying placards with messages, like “UN Wake up, “One solution Kashmir resolution,” and “Stop state terrorism” to denounce the killings of seven civilians in Laroo village of Kulgam.

JRL calls Kulgam march today

Srinagar, Oct 23: Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a march to south Kashmir’s Kulgam district Wednesday to pay homage to seven civilians killed in a blast in Laroo village on Sunday. The leadership has also called for a shutdown on October 27.

In a statement today, the JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik appealed to people in general and those living in south Kashmir in particular to march to Kulgam tomorrow in solidarity with the families of seven civilians killed in Kulgam blast.

The leadership has also called for protests after Friday prayers to denounce the killings.

The JRL urged people to observe shutdown on October 27. “October 27 should be observed as ‘black day’ against the landing of Indian army in Kashmir valley,” they said in the statement.

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