Srinagar, Aug 31: Normal life remained crippled for the second successive day as shop and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in Kashmir valley due to a two-day strike called by separatists till Friday to protest alleged attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A.
Curfew-like restrictions remained imposed for the second successive day in downtown and parts of Civil Lines in the summer capital, Srinagar as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident following a strike called by separatists against any move to weaken the Article 35 A of the Constitution.
About half a dozen petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court (DC), demanding scrapping of the Article.
However, mainstream political parties, including National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Communist Party of India (M), Kashmir Bar Association, traders and civil society have filed counter petitions, demanding continuation of the Article.
The Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik, had called for a two-day strike from Thursday against alleged attempts being made to abrogate the Article, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state. The Article provides special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of the state.
The petitions challenging the Article will come up in the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday.
Shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the road in Civil Lines and uptown Srinagar, where roadside vendors were also missing. However, few private vehicles could be seen plying on some routes in the city.
Work in government offices and banks was also affected on Friday in the Valley, where all educational institutes were deserted as students preferred to stay indoors in view of the strike called by separatists. Train service remained suspended for the second day as a security measure.
Business and other activities remained crippled in main business hubs of the city, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve-centre of summer capital, Budshah Chowk, Regal Chowk, Maisuma, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Batmaloo, Moulana Azad Road, Residency Road and Dalgate.
Additional security forces, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding weapons and lathis in their hands, were seen patrolling the streets in restriction free areas in the city to prevent any untoward incident.
“To prevent any law and order problem and in the interest of safety and security of general public and property, Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC remained imposed for the second day in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of police station Safa Kadal, M R Gunj, Khanyar, Nowhatta and Rainawari. Similar restrictions remained imposed in parts of areas under the jurisdiction of police station Kralkhud and Maisuma,” police said.
Hundreds of security forces and state police personnel were deployed in major towns and tehsil headquarters to stop protests, said a report from north Kashmir, where business and other activities remained crippled and traffic was off the roads in support of the strike.
Life remained crippled for the second day in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal in support of the strike called by separatists.
A report from Pulwama said life remained crippled for the second day in this and other south Kashmir towns and tehsil headquarters, where shops were closed and traffic was off the road in support of the strike. Additional security forces have been deployed in entire south Kashmir, including Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian, to prevent any law and order problem.
Security has also been stepped up along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway to prevent any protests.