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Central & South Asia

Strikes paralyse life in Indian Kashmir

Separatists and pro-India groups call shutdown on an annual holiday marking anniversary of a bloody 1931 uprising.

Last Modified: 13 Jul 2013 20:19
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Razor wires were laid across roads in the key city of Srinagar to quell rallies called by separatists [File Photo: Reuters]

Undeclared curfew and strikes have marred normal life in India-administered Kashmir where separatists rejecting Indian rule have called a shutdown on an annual holiday marking the anniversary of a bloody 1931 uprising.

On Saturday, police and paramilitary soldiers laid razor wire across roads in the old quarters of Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, and warned residents to stay indoors, the Associated Press news agency reported.

"Today the strike is for the Kashmiri people who were killed by Dogras. A complete shutdown is being observed. The transport and everything is closed," said Ghulam Mahi-u-din, a local.

Martyrs' Day marks the day when 21 Kashmiri Muslims were ordered killed by the army of the state's then Hindu king to quell their revolt.

Traditionally, both separatists and pro-India Kashmiri political groups commemorate the day, but key separatist including powerful Chairmen of Hurriyat Conference factions, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were under house arrest to stop them from leading pro-Independence rallies.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, both of which have fought two of their three wars over the region they rule in part.

About a dozen armed groups are engaged in fighting against Indian forces since 1989 for Kashmir’s independence or for its merger with Pakistan.

About 70,000 people have died in over two decades of conflict.

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Source:
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