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Kashmir shuts on second consecutive day

Srinagar, Aug 06: Kashmir, Chenab valley along with parts of Jammu and Ladakh division, Monday witnessed complete shutdown on second consecutive day  against the legal challenge posed to Article 35-A in the Supreme Court.

Though by noon, the Supreme Court had already deferred the hearing regarding Article 35-A to August 27, it hardly had any impact on the situation in Kashmir, which was marked by protests marches and complete shutdown.

Shops, markets, other businesses establishments and educational institutions across the valley remained closed on the call given by the Joint Hurriyat group.

Transport remained off the roads. Like Sunday, pharmacy shops, dairies and bakery shops, which otherwise are seen shutters up, too preferred to observe a shutdown.

In Srinagar, both uptown and downtown areas wore a deserted look as people preferred to remain indoors following the increase in the security cover by the authorities.

 People holding placards and shout slogans during a protest march against the petitions in the Supreme court challenging the validity of Article 35A, in downtown Srinagar on Monday, August 06, 2018.  Photo by Umar Ganie

Government forces were deployed at vulnerable places in the city for maintaining ‘law and order’.

The traders association Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) protested at Lal Chowk. Many of its many members were detained by police when they tried to march towards UNMOGIP office at Sonwar.

Shouting slogans, the protesting traders appealed the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition.

The other parts of the valley including North and Central Kashmir equally responded to the shutdown call by observing an unprecedented shutdown.

In south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, at least six persons were injured during clashes with forces. The incidents of stone pelting have been also reported in other districts.

The authorities continued placing senior separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest. Although Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), has evaded arrest by going underground.

Rail services between Kashmir and the Banihal town of Jammu region too remained suspended.

Similar scenes of shutdown and less vehicular movement were also witnessed in parts of Chenab valley.

As per the reports government forces were deployed in strength at all the sensitive places of Bhadarwah and Kishtwar to thwart any untoward incident.

A shutdown called by local organisations also disrupted life in Kargil and adjoining areas in Ladakh region, the officials said.

The two-day strike was given by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership supported by various organisations, including state bar association, transporters and traders’, religious and social bodies.