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Shops open in Lal Chowk but downtown markets still shut

SRINAGAR: The aftereffects of the demise of senior pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani have not died down even on the fifth day in Kashmir. Many parts of the Valley remained shut with markets closed, though transport has returned to the roads.

The most stringent restrictions on Monday were placed around the ‘Martyrs’ graveyard’ in downtown Srinagar. Eyewitnesses told Kashmir Reader that besides deployment of government forces, three police vehicles were stationed outside it. The gates of its nearby park and ground were also being manned by government forces.

“Today no one was allowed to enter any of the premises near the graveyard,” said a local. “In the last four days there was deployment but not of this type. For one day there was even no deployment either,” he said.

A frequent visitor to the park told Kashmir Reader that police had told him not to come there for some days. They did not mention the reason, he said, but called it a precautionary measure.

The roads leading to the graveyard have been blocked with razor wires and barricades. There was a rumour since Sunday evening that people were going to move towards the graveyard today.

The rumour of a march to the Eidgah gained momentum after news came that the last wish of Geelani was to be buried in the martyrs’ graveyard there, a wish that the administration did not allow to be fulfilled. As per Geelani’s family, the police forcibly snatched his body at 3am in the night and they buried him in the neighbouring graveyard of a local mosque, where Geelani had delivered many speeches in Hyderpora. His last bath was also given in the same mosque. Today, his grave remains under the surveillance of armed government forces.

However, elsewhere in the city, the mood was mixed. At city centre Lal Chowk the shops were open. But at Hari Singh High Street, Sarai Bala and Goni Khan markets, the shops remained shut. At Maisuma, the scene was the same, so was at many areas of the downtown.

Vehicular movement, both private and public, was witnessed across the city as people took to their everyday routines. But until Sunday the valley had worn a deserted look. Geelani’s residence and his grave remain out of bounds for people. Mobile internet which was suspended till Monday evening was restored though mobile phone services which were suspended for two days were restored on Friday evening.

Train services which were suspended on Thursday as a “precautionary measure” remain shut.





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