Valley gathers at Eidgah for Friday prayers: shutdown in Jammu

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Srinagar/Jammu, Aug 22 (UNI) All roads led to Eidgah, where lakhs of people today joined the Friday congregation, organised by the Coordination Committee (CC) as a general strike paralysed life in the Kashmir valley after three days of normal activities. An extended day-long curfew relaxation of 17 hours was ordered in Jammu district where the night curfew will remain in force for some more days, the District Magistrate said. However, a bandh continued on the 30th consecutive day today, in protest against the government's decision to revoke the order of land diverted in favour of the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) in south Kashmir.

The government appealed to the people not to pay heed to rumours being spread frequently by ''mischievous elements to create tension in the state''.

In Kashmir valley, the strike call, was given by the CC, an alliance of both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC), all other separatist organisations, traders, Kashmir Bar Association among others, spearheading the present agitation, demanding opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road for trade, withdrawal of special powers to security forces, reduction of troops and release of all detenues languishing in jails for years.

Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads in the valley.

Thousands of people from different parts of the summer capital were seen marching towards the Eidgah ground in the downtown since morning for offering Friday prayers, as directed by the CC. Youths, holding black and green flags, were on their motorcycles and scooters, raising slogans in different parts of the city.

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