Srinagar: Streets in Kashmir valley on Sunday wore deserted looks as people observed a complete shutdown in response to a call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) against mass arrests in Kashmir and legal challenges to Article 35A in the Supreme Court.
The shutdown witnessed intensified security arrangements in volatile areas of the summer capital, especially in the old city. Shops and private business establishments remained closed while there was no public transport on the roads.
To prevent people from holding any protest demonstrations, restrictions under Sec 144 CrPC had been imposed in several areas of old city including those under the police stations of Rainawari, Khanyar, Safa Kadal, Nowhatta and MR Gunj. Large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF in anti-riot gear were deployed from the morning. Concertina wires were laid across roads at several places to prevent movement of both pedestrians and vehicles. Government forces had installed road blocks on several routes.
Markets including Nalahmaar, Gada Kocha, Gada Bazar, Zaina Kadal, Saraf Kadal, Malaratha, Bohri Kadal, Nowhatta and other markets in the downtown were closed throughout the day.
JRL leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had given the call for the shutdown, saying that the mass crackdown on and illegal detention of more than 200 Jama’at-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz on Friday night in nocturnal raids across the valley was part of the continued policy of suppression of pro-self determination leadership and narrative.
The situation remained peaceful during the day in Srinagar but some reports suggested that minor clashes erupted in old city areas such as Darish Kadal and Safa Kadal.
Reports of a complete shutdown were received from across north Kashmir where all shops and other business centres including tuition centers remained closed in Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Sheeri, Boniyar, Uri, Chandanwari, Rafiabad, Langate, Handwara, Kupwara, Kralpora, Lolab, Hajin and Bandipora areas, while public transport was completely off the roads throughout the day.
People in south and central Kashmir also observed a complete shutdown. Reports said that people returned from petrol pumps without getting any fuel for their vehicles as the authorities had ordered all pumps to stop sale of petrol and diesel on Sunday as a conservation measure.