Srinagar, Aug 11 : The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Monday fired in the air to thwart an attempt by fruit growers and traders to march towards Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) in protest against the blockade of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway by agitators in Jammu over the Amarnath land transfer row
Security forces deflated tyres of 200 trucks carrying fruits in Sopore town and used tear gas shells to disperse the agitating fruit growers trying to take out a convoy towards Muzaffarabad.
As the fruit growers refused to give in, police and paramilitary forces fired in the air to bring the situation under control and over 100 fruit growers were taken into custody, official sources said.
Police and CRPF personnel were deployed in large numbers all along the roads leading towards Baramulla and Uri townships. Security has also been beefed up across the Line of Control in view of the march. arlier, Kashmir Fruit Growers Association, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Traders Federation and both factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) had announced that a convoy of fruit-laden trucks from Kashmir would proceed towards Muzaffarabad and called the people of Muslim majority areas in Jammu to march towards Rawalakote.
People's Democratic Party also supported the 'Muzaffarabad chalo' move, urging to open the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route for movement of goods. It has also sought opening of links like Suchetgarh-Sialkote, Rawakot-Poonch and Kargil-Skardu roads.
Traders want an alternate route to transport their stuff to the markets in Delhi and Ahmedabad, saying they have already suffered losses of over Rs.200 crore as fruits in the Sopore fruit market are rotting.
Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil asked the traders not to go ahead with the idea of marching to Muzaffarabad with fruit trucks while assuring them that the Government will ensure smooth passage of trucks on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The Government has already put the Hurriyat Conference leaders like Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah and PDP leaders Abdul Aziz Zargar, Dilawar Mir and Nizamuddin Bhat under house arrest to thwart their move to march to Muzafarabad.