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Kashmir observes shutdown to protest prison term for separatist leader Fai

Srinagar, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 ANI

Srinagar, Apr.7 (ANI): The state of Jammu and Kashmir observed a shutdown on Saturday in protest against a U.S. judge giving an American of Kashmiri origin, Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, a two-year prison sentence after he admitted secretly receiving millions of dollars from Pakistan and its spy service while lobbying in the United States.

Fai, 62, pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy and tax violations dating back to 1990 for a scheme to conceal some 3.5 million dollars that came from Pakistan to fund his lobbying efforts over the disputed territory of Kashmir.

Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, had called for a complete shutdown, against the verdict.

Residents said that the shutdown is being observed by maximum number of people in the valley.

"Hurriyat leader have given a call for the shutdown today, the Geelani (Syed Ali Shah Geelani) group of Hurriyat. The call has been given because Dr. Fai (Ghulam Nabi Fai) who used to spread awareness in USA about the Kashmir's cause but he is implicated in a fake case by the USA government. So in order to condemn this act, shutdown is being observed in the state," said Ashiq Hussian, a resident.

All shops, business establishments, schools, colleges and government offices were closed and public transport was not seen on the roads.

Police and security personnel were deployed on all important locations to avoid any protest by the separatists and armed security men were seen patrolling on city streets.

Prosecutors in the U.S. had urged the judge to sentence Fai to four years in prison while Fai argued he should be sentenced to home confinement.

Fai served as the executive director of the Kashmiri American Council, which described itself as a non-profit organization run by Kashmiris and funded by Americans.

But U.S. authorities have said some of the Kashmiri American Council's money came from Pakistan's intelligence service, known as the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency or ISI, and that he failed to register as an agent of a foreign government as required under U.S. law.

The Pakistan Government has denied any knowledge of Fai's activities. (ANI)

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