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We describe a novel method for human activity segmentation and interpretation in surveillance applications based on Gabor filter-bank features. A complex human activity is modeled as a sequence of elementary human actions like walking, running, jogging, boxing, hand-waving etc. Since human silhouette can be modeled by a set of rectangles, the elementary human actions can be modeled as a sequence of a set of rectangles with different orientations and scales. The activity segmentation is based on Gabor filter-bank features and normalized spectral clustering. The feature trajectories of an action category are learnt from training example videos using dynamic time warping. The combined segmentation and the recognition processes are very efficient as both the algorithms share the same framework and Gabor features computed for the former can be used for the later. We have also proposed a simple shadow detection technique to extract good silhouette which is necessary for good accuracy of an action recognition technique.