Shutdown call by separatists’ evokes mixed response in Valley


Normal life was affected on Tuesday following the shutdown called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to protest against the detention and ‘revengeful arrest of Hurriyat leaders by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

All the shops and other business establishments remained closed in Lal chowk area of Srinagar while as the call evoked mixed response from other frontier districts.

Besides, closure of shops and business establishments, a very thin vehicular movement was witnesses on highway and link roads.

Following the shutdown call by JRL, district administration had imposed strict restrictions under section 144 in areas falling under the jurisdiction of Nowhatta, MR Gunj, Rainawari, Khanyar and Safakadal police stations in Downtown Srinagar.

“Restrictions were imposed as a precautionary measure to thwart any protest and stone pelting incidents in the areas,” a senior official said.

Wearing riot gears, huge deployment of CRPF troops and JKP personnel was witnessed in areas where restrictions were imposed on public movement. All the entry and exit points were closed by barricades erected by the JKP and CRPF in these areas.

While public transport was almost off roads, a considerable movement of private vehicles was witnessed in old city and other areas. Also, the shutdown call received a mixed response from uptown areas of Srinagar city.

Pertinently, the protest shutdown was called post arrest of seven Hurriyat leaders in the “terror funding” case by National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday.

The arrested include Altaf Ahmad Shah, son-in-law of Geelani, and Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of the Geelani-led Hurriyat group, and Peer Saifullah, Personal secretary of Geelani. The others include Nayeem Khan, Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate, Shahid-ul-Islam, close aide of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mehrajuddin Kalwal.

While the situation across Kashmir remained peaceful, reports of clashes between youth and government forces were received from Bijbehara town of Anantnag district.

Witnesses said youth fought pitched battles with government forces in Zirpora Bijbehara area.

“A large number of youths took to the streets at Zirpora Bijbehara as part of the protest programme given by JRL. However, the forces responded by lobbing tear gas shells on the protesters, triggering clashes in the Bijbehara town,” the witnesses said.

Meanwhile the shutdown called by JRL affected the attendance of employees in various government as well as private offices. On Tuesday a very thin attendance was reported from some offices functioning in Srinagar and other district headquarters.

Also, there was a less footfall of visitors in civil secretariat Srinagar as well given the non available of hassle free public transport in various areas.

Besides other institutions the attendance in government schools was less while as most of the private schools were closed for a day.

“Most of the private schools remained closed fearing apprehensions of stone pelting and protest today. the students were informed in advance to remain at home,” said an official.

Meanwhile, Hurriyat is facing a backlash from the public, mainly on social media, against the “arbitrary” use of shutdown calls.

Kashmiri’s are now tired of these hartal calls of Hurriyat, as they don’t pay any attention to these shutdown calls, Kaisar Qureshi, a netizens wrote on twitter.

Hurriyat’s hartal politics is hard to understand. Sm (some) innocent killings deserve that 1 day of mourning while others don’t. Depends on their mood?, Mir Insha, another twitter user wrote on social media platform.

While Hurriyat has been issuing shutdown calls against civilian killings, curiously, no such call was issued against the killing of a youth in central Kashmir’s Beerwah town on July 21.

Pertinently, those arrested by the NIA include Geelani’s son-in-law, Altaf Ahmad Funtoosh, Ayaz Akbar, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Peer Saifullah, Shahid-ul-Islam, Nayeem Khan and Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman said that the situation across the Valley remained normal and under control today.

“No untoward incident was reported from any party of the valley till filing of this report. Shops and business establishments remained open in most of the place in the valley while traffic was plying on all roads normally,” he said.

The spokesman said that as a precautionary measure restrictions were imposed in few police station areas of Srinagar city.

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