A complete shutdown was observed across the Valley on Thursday, following a two-day strike call given by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, against the attempts for an abrogation of Article 35A of the Jammu and Kashmir, which gives permanent resident rights to state subjects.
All business operations and shops were closed and traffic remained off the roads, however, schools, filling pumps, colleges, and government institutions were closed due to the shutdown call.
Roads were wearing a deserted look in Srinagar and similar reports were received from other district headquarters. However, some private vehicles were seen plying on these roads.
Authorities had imposed restrictions in some parts of the city as a precautionary measure for maintaining law and order, said police officials. The forces had placed barricades on the roads at many places of Srinagar city particularly old city areas and other district headquarters to check the vehicular and public movement.
A police statement had said that some areas where restrictions under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed included Khanyar, Nowhatta, Maharajgunj, Safakadal, Rainawari, Maisuma and Kralkhud.
The train services too were suspended across the Valley, after the shutdown call. “We have suspended all trains between Srinagar-Budgam in central Kashmir to Baramulla in north Kashmir as a precautionary measure today,” a railway official told The Kashmir Walla.
Members of the Sikh community living in Tral region also staged a protest against the revoking of Article 35A. The protest was eventually joined by people from various trade unions in the area, with people carrying placards, banners and chanting slogans in support of the Article.
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Residents from Tangdhar-Karnah area also demonstrated with pro-Article 35A slogans and banners. They were seen chanting anti-BJP slogans too.
A complete shutdown was observed in district Rajouri and Poonch of Pir Panjal range, where the business establishments remained closed and the traffic was off the roads.
The JRL had given a shutdown call for 30 and 31 August, against the abrogation of Article 35A, which has been challenged by a Delhi-based NGO, ‘We the Citizens’, and a few other groups arguing that Article 35A and Article 370 decimate against the citizens of J-K and the rest of the country.
The Article 35A is the Jammu and Kashmir State Subject Law, which defines permanent residents of the state and prevents non-Kashmiris from buying or owning any property in the state, settle permanently or avail any benefits from any state-sponsored scheme. It also restricts the state government from hiring any non-permanent residents in government services.
The Article has been in controversy ever since its incorporation in 1954, almost seven decades ago, as a part of the earlier Article 370, which gives a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, the situation across the Valley was peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere till this report was filed.
Meanwhile, in Hajin at Par Mohalla area of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, security forces killed two foreign militants during a gunfight that broke out between the militants and government forces.
A police spokesperson in a statement said that during the searches, militants fired on the search party, which was retaliated leading to a gunfight. In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed.