Separatist strike hits life in Indian Kashmir

A strike called by separatists to protest against arrests of their leaders and young demonstrators shut down much of revolt-hit Indian Kashmir on Saturday.

Most shops, businesses and offices in the summer capital of Srinagar and other major towns in the Kashmir valley were closed by the strike, called by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, head of the hardline faction of the region's leading separatist alliance.

But it had no impact in the mainly Hindu Jammu area, south of Srinagar.

The Muslim-majority region was rocked by violent demonstrations against Indian rule last summer that left an estimated 114 people dead, most of them shot by police and paramilitary forces.

More than 50 separatists, including lawyers' leader Mian Abdul Qayoom and leading female separatist Aasiya Andrabi, have been detained after police accused them of leading last year's protests.

Hundreds of demonstrators were also jailed during the crackdown under tough security laws.

Geelani said: "We are faced with worst kind of state terror. There is no let up in the crackdown against our leaders and youth to suppress our voice."

Indian security officials say the separatists have been jailed for creating "law and order problems".

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