Srinagar: A protest shutdown called by pro-freedom groups and restrictions imposed by authorities marked the Republic Day in Kashmir on Sunday.
Shops and business establishments remained closed while traffic remained off the roads in most parts of the Valley, eyewitnesses and reports said.
In Srinagar, major market wore a deserted look in wake of the shutdown coupled with government imposed restrictions.
Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in riot gear were deployed in strength at many places in this summer capital especially around Bakshi Stadium, the main venue for official function.
Like past many years, the authorities snapped mobile phone as well as Internet connectivity for several hours in the morning as precautionary measure for smooth official R-Day celebrations in the Valley.
The mobile service of all companies including BSNL, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance and Aircel, went off air since early Sunday, some three hours before the start of the official function marked by unfurling of the tricolour.
However, Internet services through land line telephone connections were functioning.
The authorities said the step was taken as a precautionary measure to abort attempts by militants to trigger remote controlled explosive devices using mobile. It has become a regular practice in Valley to jam the mobile phone and Internet signals during R-Day, I-Day functions or visit of any ‘VVIP’ from New Delhi.
Reports of strike were received from other parts of the Valley including Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, and Bandipora districts.
The call for the strike was given by the three factions of Hurriyat Conference besides JKLF. It was endorsed by other pro-freedom groups and the militant conglomerate United Jihad Council.
Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani had appealed to people to boycott the Republic Day celebrations saying, “India has deprived the people of Jammu and Kashmir of their basic rights. Participating in its Republic Day celebrations has no meaning at all.”