Shutdown in Kashmir, Jammu’s Chenab Valley in defense of Article 35A

Reports said that Puwlama, Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam Tangmarg, Sopore, Rafiabad and Handwara areas observed complete shutdown with shops and business establishments remaining closed and traffic off the roads.

ABID BASHIR/ TAHIR NADEEM KHAN
Srinagar/ Bhadarwah, Publish Date: Aug 12 2017 11:51PM | Updated Date: Aug 12 2017 11:51PM
Shutdown in Kashmir, Jammu’s Chenab Valley in defense of Article 35AGK Photo

Kashmir and Chenab Valley of Jammu division observed shutdown on Saturday against the petition filed by a Delhi-based NGO in the Supreme Court seeking abrogation of Article 35A which confers special rights on permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Life came to standstill across Kashmir as the strike call given by Kashmir’s joint separatist leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik evoked total response. All commercial establishments, shops, private institutions, schools, colleges and financial institutions remained closed for the day. The traffic remained off the roads.

Ali Muhammad of Abi-Guzar area said it was after a long time that such a strict strike was observed by the people of Kashmir. “Earlier, shops would remain closed while as some fruit vendors and those who are part of weekly Sunday market would still establish stalls. Today it was a complete shutdown,” he said. Ali, 60, said that strike has sent a message to those who have launched an assault on J&K’s special status and are planning to get Article 35A scrapped that people of Kashmir won’t tolerate any such move.”

Residents of Downtown said government imposed undeclared curfew in many parts that include Sekidafar, Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Mahraj Gunj, Nowhatta and other interior areas. “Since early morning there was heavy deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF men. Nobody was allowed to venture out,” said Reyaz Ahmed of Nowhatta.

People faced tough time while reaching Lal Chowk from Downtown areas. “I had to plead before the police and paramilitary CRPF men at Nowhatta to allow me to proceed. They were not allowing anybody. I was pushed back and I reached Lal Chowk from an alternate route,” said Mudasir Shafi of Lal Bazar.

Sonawar, Shivpora, Batwara, Baghat Barzulla, Rawalpora and Rangreth areas in uptown Srinagar also remained shut.

Reports said that Puwlama, Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag, Baramulla, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Budgam Tangmarg, Sopore, Rafiabad and Handwara areas observed complete shutdown with shops and business establishments remaining closed and traffic off the roads.

Meanwhile, clashes between youth and government forces broke out at Sekidafar in Downtown late in the evening. Clashes were on when this report was filed.

Shutdown in Chenab Valley, Banihal:

On the call of joint separatist leadership, Chenab Valley and Banihal area of Jammu division observed shutdown on Saturday against the attempts being made to tinker with Article 35A, which confers special rights on permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The call was supported by Anjuman Islamia Bhadarwah, Markazi Seerat Committee Doda, Anjuman Islamia Gandoh, Masjid Committee Thathri and Majlis-e-Shoura Kishtwar.

Shops, other business establishments and private schools of a particular community remained closed, however government schools and offices functioned.

Anjuman Islamia president Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh said, "State and central government instead of making honest efforts to bring peace in Kashmir are busy in raking up the issues which hurt the sentiments of people of Jammu and Kashmir. This clearly shows that both state and union governments are hell bent to implement RSS agenda."

Senior National Conference leader and former minister Khalid Najeeb Suharawardy said, “New Delhi's only agenda is to erode the autonomous structure of the state but abrogation of Article 35A would lead to an uprising which I wonder whether government would be able to contain."

In Kishtwar, all shops, business establishments, some educational institutions remained closed and transport also remained off the roads following the shutdown call given by Majlis-e-Shura Kishtwar, an amalgam of Imams and traders of Kishtwar.

Doda, Gandoh and Thathri areas also observed shutdown.

(With Altaf Baba in Baramulla, Irfan Amin Malik in Ganderbal, Ghulam Muhammad in Sopore)

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