SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir on Saturday on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) formed by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Faroq and Muhammad Yaseen Malik, who had asked people to observe India’s Republic Day as “black day”.
All markets and business establishments remained closed in Srinagar city and also in other districts of the valley, reports said, adding that there was no public transport on the roads and movement of private vehicles was also thin.
The government suspended, as usual, mobile internet services but mobile phone services functioned as usual.
Mobile internet services were snapped in the early hours as part of stringent security arrangements on the occasion of Republic Day, a police officer said.
Suspension of mobile phone and internet services has become a routine on India’s Republic Day since 2005 in Kashmir. There have been a few occasions when the authorities did not resort to this step as part of the security drill. It was in 2015 that for the first time neither mobile phone services nor internet was suspended after many years. The practice was resumed two years later, though, after armed rebellion picked up pace during the 2016 public uprising.
Government forces were deployed in strength at many places in Srinagar today to prevent anti-government protests. Ever since anti-India insurgency erupted in 1990, all venues where official Republic Day and Independence Day functions are held have been garrisoned by thousands of policemen and paramilitary troopers.
At the Sher-i-Kashmir cricket stadium in Srinagar where the official R-Day function was held, all the roads outside were barricaded to prevent anti-India demonstrations. Heavily armed troops kept constant vigil from atop residences and commercial buildings. As is routine, frisking and door-to-door searches in nearby areas were carried out from a week ahead of January 26.
Though the government called the day peaceful, two militants were killed in a gunfight with government forces in Khanmoh area on the outskirts of Srinagar city.
Other than that, there was no “incident” reported anywhere in the city.