Monday, November 29, 1999

Routine life resumes in Srinagar after 4-day protest

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Srinagar, June 15 -- Srinagar on Tuesday witnessed semblance of normalcy after four days of unrest, violent protests and strict security restrictions after the alleged killing of a boy in police action at Rajouri Kadal area on Friday. Life returned to normal when shops, schools, business houses and banks reopened after hardline All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani withdrew shutdown call for three days starting today. Geelani, who has been shifted to Central Jail in Srinagar, has threatened to give a protest programme on coming Friday against the killing of the 17-year-old boy Tufail Ahmad, a Class XII student. While most people of Srinagar city resumed their routine life today, traffic on Sada Kadal, which houses the residence of the victim, was diverted after protest rallies and stone pelting incidents in the morning. Shops, schools and business establishments remained closed for fourth day today in the area. "The situation in the city is under control. There had been reports of stone pelting in Saida Kadal which lasted for about an hour," said Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad. Tourist rush also returned to commercial hub Lal Chowk, where visitors were seen busy buying Kashmiri artifacts. Many enjoyed joyrides in shikaras (boat) on Dal lake. The unrest by and large had no affect on tourist inflow to Kashmir valley. "Our trip was not disturbed by the protests. Boulevard near Dal Lake used to remain open till middle of the might. And one can easily travel to tourist spots like Gulmarg, Sonemarg and Pahalgam," said Sudha Mirani, a Delhi resident, who has been here for more than a week. She was quick to add: "Yes. One could not shop because Lal Chowk and other markets would remain closed due to the unrest." The death of the student triggered massive protests in the city for the last three days resulting in injuries to over 100 people, including security personnel.

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