Trade bodies protest at Lal Chowk amid shutdown in Kashmir

Trade bodies protest at Lal Chowk amid shutdown in Kashmir
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ARIF RASHID

SRINAGAR: Kashmiri trade bodies held a protest demonstration in Lal Chowk Srinagar where representatives of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), All Kashmir Transporters Welfare Association, and other traders’ bodies assembled. They carried placards and banners that read, “Save Our Rights”, “Save Article 35A”, “We demand dismissal of the petition challenging Article 35A”, and “We will spill our blood to defend Article 35A”.
The protesters demanded immediate revocation of the ban on Jama’at e Islami and dismissal of all petitions challenging Article 35A in the Supreme Court.
Mohamed Yasin Khan, president of KTMF, said that trade and industry bodies won’t allow the government to abrogate Article 35A at any cost, as “Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and has its own constitution and powers.”
“Article 35A is the identity of Jammu and Kashmir’s people. The people are ready to safeguard 35A with their blood,” he said.
“If these articles are even tinkered with, not only the bond with New Delhi will break but it will also lead to such a fiery situation that no efforts will be able to douse the flames thereafter,” Khan warned.
He said the ban on Jama’at had affected socio-humanitarian services in Kashmir. “Educational and other services offered by the Jama’at have been the first victim,” he said.
Khan also strongly denounced the NIA raids on residences of Hurriyat leaders. He said that such tactics would not intimidate Kashmiris into submission and they would continue their movement till their last breath.
Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed across Kashmir on Tuesday in response to a call given by trade and industry bodies to protest against the ban on Jama’at-e-Islami and “continued attacks” on special status of J&K via Constitutional amendments.
In Srinagar, all shops and business establishments were closed while there was no public transport on the roads. Similar reports were received from across the Valley. The impact of the shutdown call was also witnessed in Banihal town and its adjoining markets.