SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown was observed in poll-bound areas in Kashmir on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to boycott Urban Local Bodies (ULB) polls on Saturday. Some areas, including in Srinagar, witnessed only a partial shutdown.
Shops and private business establishments remained closed while majority of the transport remained off the roads. Educational institutions also remained closed as the government had declared a holiday in areas where the third phase of ULB polls was scheduled.
Srinagar areas including city centre Lal Chowk, Rajbagh, Ikhrajpora, Mehjoor Nagar, Natipora, Chanapora, Budshah Nagar, Bagaat Barzulla, Rawalpora, Hyderpora, Khanka-e-Moula, Mehraj Gung, Jamia Masjid, Makhdoom Sahib, Khawaja Bazar, Aquilmir Khanyar, Rouzabal, Doulatabad, Islamyarbal, Nawab Bazar, Nawa Kadal, Safa Kadal, Rathpora, Eidgah, Palpora and Tarabal witnessed shutdown and thin traffic on roads.
Security was intensified across Srinagar with government forces erecting barricades around all areas where voting was to be held.
No major protests were reported during the day but minor clashes were reported from Habba Kadal during the evening hours. Locals said that government forces used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.
Internet service was snapped in most parts of Kashmir while in Srinagar the bandwidth stayed reduced to 2G as in the past three days.
As per reports, partial shutdown was observed in areas of Baramulla where polling was scheduled. However, a sizeable number of voters turned out to vote in Uri area of the district where all the shops and business hubs were open.
In Sopore, where third phase of ULB polling was scheduled today, poll-bound areas wore a deserted look, except for the heavy deployment of government forces.
A complete shutdown was observed in areas of south Kashmir but no clashes were reported. All shops and business establishments were closed for the day in response to the JRL call.
The authorities have caged all the three JRL leaders. While Syed Ali Geelani continues to be under house detention, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been put under house arrest for the past few days. Mohammad Yasin Malik was arrested on October 3 and is lodged at police station Kothi Bagh in Srinagar.