Srinagar: Life came to a grinding halt as shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in Kashmir Valley due to two-day strike called by separatists from Sunday to protest alleged attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A.
Shops and business establishments, which remained open on Sundays, were closed and traffic was off the road in civil lines and uptown Srinagar, where roadside vendors were also missing. However, few private vehicles could be seen plying on some routes in the city.
The famous Sunday Market also wore a deserted look as vendors stayed away. Train services were also suspended.
Business and other activities remained crippled in main business hubs of the city, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve-centre of summer capital, Budshah Chowk, Regal Chowk, Maisuma, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Batmaloo, Moulana Azad Road, Residency Road and Dalgate.
Additional security forces, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding weapons and lathis in their hands, were seen patrolling the streets in the city to prevent any untoward incident.
The 3-km-long weekly market from Radio Kashmir (RK), Srinagar, crossing to Hari Singh High Streets (HSHS), including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve-centre of the city, which attracts thousands of buyers from different parts of the valley, looked isolated due to the strike and restrictions.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Maluvi Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, had called for a two-day strike from August 5 to protest against an alleged ‘politically-motivated move’ to abrogate Article 35-A.
As many as 27 Kashmir-based trade and industry bodies, including the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), have backed the separatist strike call. The representatives of 27 Kashmir-based trade and industry bodies on Monday also presented a united front to protest against any attempts made to abrogate Article 35-A and tamper with the special status of the state.
This comes in the back drop of the Supreme Court (SC) hearing on Monday (August 6) a number of writ petitions challenging Article 35 A, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state. The Article provides special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
A report from Anantnag said life was crippled in this and other south Kashmir towns and tehsil headquarters, where shops were closed and traffic was off the road in support of the strike. Additional security forces have been deployed in entire south Kashmir, including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, to prevent any law and order problem.
Security has also been stepped up along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway to prevent any protests.
Life came to a halt in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal in support of the strike called by separatists.
Hundreds of security forces and state police personnel were deployed in major towns and tehsil headquarters to stop protests, said a report from north Kashmir, where business and other activities were crippled and traffic was off the roads in support of the strike.