Second day of shutdown in Kashmir, Jammu parts against Article 35-A hearing

Second day of shutdown in Kashmir, Jammu parts against Article 35-A hearing
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Mobile internet restored in Anantnag and Shopian districts

SRINAGAR: Normal life across Kashmir and Chenab Valley region in Jammu division remained crippled for the second day on Monday as part of the two-day shutdown called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik against the hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court.
The apex court on Monday adjourned hearing on the Constitutional validity of the Article, saying one of the three judges on the bench was not present.
The court also said that a three-judge bench has been hearing the case and will consider whether it has to be referred to a larger Constitutional bench.
The top court listed the matter for hearing in the week commencing August 27.
In Kashmir Valley, all shops, private offices, petrol pumps, and business establishments stayed closed while public transport went off the roads to observe the strike.
In Jammu, protests were held at some places in Muslim-majority districts. The strike, supported by various social and religious organisations, disrupted life in some areas of the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, and also in Chenab Valley districts of Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban, reports said.
In Srinagar, paramilitary CRPF and policemen armed with sophisticated weapons and riot gear guarded the deserted streets, lanes and bylanes to foil any attempt by people to stage demonstrations.
Reports of a complete shutdown were received from both north Kashmir and south Kashmir districts.
Members of civil society and the traders’ federation in Bandipora took out a protest rally. They assembled at Gulshan Chowk carrying placards and banners and pledged to safeguard the special status of Jammu & Kashmir at all costs. A complete shutdown was also observed in Gurez Valley area.
In Sheeri Baramulla, the traders’ federation and many social workers held a peaceful protest demonstration. Traders’ federation president Bashir Ahmad Lone told reporters that Kashmiris would not shy away from “shedding their blood” to protect the special status granted to the state by the Constitution of India. Demonstrators at the gathering said that the situation will take an ugly turn in Kashmir if a court decision goes against the interests of people of Kashmir.
Train services remained suspended for the second consecutive day amid apprehensions of widespread protests in the Valley. The Amarnath Yatra also stayed suspended for the second straight day on Monday.
Mobile internet services were restored after three days of suspension in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag and Shopian. High-speed 3G and 4G services were restored by all private cellular companies and the state-run BSNL in Anantnag and Shopian districts, official sources said.
The mobile internet services were suspended on Friday amid fears of widespread protests against the killing of five militants and a civilian by government forces in Shopian district.
Article 35A was incorporated in the Indian Constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet.
The Article empowers the state legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on the grounds of violation of right to equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.
With inputs from PTI