SRINAGAR: Kashmir Valley and Muslim-majority areas in Jammu region on Sunday shut down all their business to observe the shutdown called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik to protest the scheduled hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court.
The petition to be heard Monday seeks abrogation of Article 35A that, experts says, gives J&K the powers to define its citizens as per its own constitution.
Traffic also stayed off the roads and protests were held at many places. The government suspended train services and the ongoing Amarnath Yatra for the day. Government forces were deployed at all sensitive places to thwart any untoward incident.
In Srinagar’s city centre Lal Chowk, a protest march was led by business and trade organisations. At Tral, the hometown of slain militant commander Burhan Wani, civil society members held a peaceful protest.
The protests were held despite police launching a crackdown on the JRL leaders. Geelani and Mirwaiz continued to be under house arrest while Yasin Malik went into hiding to evade arrest.
The Chenab Valley region also observed a complete shutdown. The shutdown call was supported by Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhadarwah and Majlis-e-Shoura Kishtwar. Shops and other business establishments remained closed in the region and transport also remained off the roads. A complete shutdown was also observed in Jammu’s Ramban district, where locals held protests at several places.
A report by New Delhi-based NDTV said that intelligence agencies have warned of a “revolt” in police ranks and massive unrest in Jammu and Kashmir if the Supreme Court passes an “adverse” order on Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, which provides special rights and privileges to the government and residents of the state.
—With inputs from Mushtaq Ahmad and Owais Farooqi