SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown was observed in Kashmir on Thursday in response to the call given by the joint resistance leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik. The shutdown was called to protest against civilian killings in the valley, including of veteran journalist Shujaat Bukhari by unknown gunmen in the heart of Srinagar.
In a statement, the JRL said that the Valley has witnessed a sudden spike in civilian killings since the eve of Eid, as three young boys have been brutally gunned down by the Indian forces while a fourth is struggling for life at SKIMS. The JRL accused the government forces of beating, harassing and using as human shield the people living in Kashmir’s villages.
The JRL had initially called for shutdown on Wednesday but deferred it by a day in view of the Mela Kheer Bhawani, an annual festival of Kashmiri Pandits at Tulmulla in Ganderbal district.
Today’s shutdown disrupted normal life in Srinagar as business establishments, shops, schools, colleges and universities remained closed. Government and private offices recorded thin attendance. Mos t public transport was off the roads in uptown Srinagar though private vehicles, cabs and three-wheelers could be seen plying on some routes.
Railway services from Banihal to Baramulla remained suspended for the day due to “apprehensions of law and order problems”.
Reports said that a complete shutdown was observed in south Kashmir’s Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Islamabad districts.
Normal life was disrupted in Budgam, Ganderbal, and other major towns of central Kashmir in response to the strike. Traffic was largely off the roads.
North Kashmir’s Baramulla town and its adjoining areas witnessed a complete shutdown. Maximum shops and other business centres including tuition centres remained closed in Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Palhalan, Langate, Handwara, Kupwara, Kralpora, Bandipora and Hajin areas while as public transport was also affected.
Reports said that contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed outside Syed Ali Geelani’s Hyderpora residence. JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik had already been taken into preventive custody by police.
There was no report of any untoward incident from any area by the time this report was filed.