Security has been beefed up here and across the Valley as separatists called for a general strike on Thursday against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in strength and are conducting random checking of vehicles at dozens of places in the city and elsewhere, a senior police officer said.
Special checking points have been set up at various places in the city including entry and exit points as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. The move was aimed at foiling any attempt by militants to strike in the city ahead or during the Prime Minister’s visit, he said. The Prime Minister yesterday said that he would spend Diwali, the festival of lights, in flood-hit Srinagar.
“Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23d October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate floods,” Modi tweeted yesterday. This will be his fourth visit to Jammu and Kashmir since taking charge as Prime Minister in May. While the announcement of the Prime Minister generated hope among the flood survivors of a comprehensive package from the centre to rebuild their lives, two factions of Hurriyat Conference have called for a general strike and peaceful protests against the visit of the Prime Minister.
“Government of India acted as the mute spectator amid worst ever floods in Kashmir and did nothing to mitigate the sufferings of the affected on ground…we will not allow anyone to rub salt into our wounds,” hardline faction of Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said in a statement. It said when Modi had not even felicitated Muslims on Eid, his celebrating Diwali in the Muslim-majority state is “unacceptable”.
Shabir Ahmad Shah led faction of Hurriyat Conference also called for a general strike tomorrow and asked people to hold peaceful demonstrations against Modi’s visit.