Separatist shutdown in Kashmir valley to mark United Nations Day

Other News Materials 24 October 2008 14:49 (UTC +04:00)

Life in India-administered Kashmir came to a halt on Friday in response to a call by the separatist Hurriyat Conference to mark United Nations Day with a strike, police said.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who issued the call for the strike, said the protest was to remind the world body of its "indifference" to Kashmir and that the Kashmir dispute remained unresolved for more than six decades, reported dpa.

United Nations Day, the anniversary of the coming into force of the UN Charter in 1945, is held annually on October 24.

Business establishments, shops and educational institutions were shut in state capital Srinagar and most areas of the Kashmir valley.

Police had to resort to firing tear-gas to disperse angry mobs gathering in some sensitive areas in the city.

Geelani and other separatist leaders have asked people to hold peaceful protests and send letters and emails to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Geelani said the leaders had called for the strike to remind the UN of the right to self determination promised to people of the state through various resolutions passed by the organization.

Both India and Pakistan which separately administer parts of Kashmir, claim the Himalayan region in its entirety.

The neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the region since achieving independence from British rule in 1947.

"Its almost as if there is an undeclared curfew in the city as people have been asked not to move out of their homes. The shutdown is complete with hardly any traffic on the roads," a police official said.

Heavy paramilitary and police forces were deployed in Srinagar as the state administration apprehended that violence could break out in sensitive areas in the city.