Srinagar, Aug 31: Even though the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing on Article 35A till January 19 next year, yet Kashmir Valley witnessed an unprecedented shutdown across Kashmir Valley on the second consecutive day on Friday.
Kashmir capital Srinagar and other parts woke up to deserted roads and markets for second straight day as businesses and shops were closed and public transport including auto rickshawas remained off the roads amid heavy deployment of forces in restive areas.
Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for the two-day shutdown on Thursday and Friday across the state, blaming “the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) and RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) of attempts to change the demography of the state.
The strike call was supported by many organizations, including trade, travel and tourism bodies and civil society members, who have also threatened mass protests.
Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, senior separatist leader Aga Syed Hasan Almosvi Alsafvi remained under house arrest for the second consecutive day. They were put under house detention to prevent them from leading any protests in support of Article 35-A. Syed Ali Geelani continues to remain under house detention. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik and Chairman Peoples Political Party Hilal Ahmed Var have gone into hiding.
Reports said that contingents of paramilitary forces were deployed at various sensitive points in Srinagar particularly old city areas. No Friday prayers were allowed in historic Jamia Masjid.
Train services remain suspended across Kashmir, keeping in view of the shutdown call.
“We have suspended all trains between Srinagar-Budgam-in central Kashmir to Baramulla in north Kashmir today,” a Railway official said.
Peaceful protest rallies amid shutdown were organized by locals under different banners across Kashmir Valley. Peaceful protests in support of Article 35A were staged in Srinagar, Kangan, Ganderbal, Budgam, Baramulla and other parts of Valley.
Besides Srinagar, unprecedented shutdown was observed in Budgam, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara, Tral, Awantipora, Pampore, Beerwah, Magam, Khansahab, Khag, Kangan, Tangmarg, Pakharpora and other parts of Valley.
All Kashmir Auto Rickshaw Drivers Association staged a peaceful protest against the attempts to abrogate the Article 35-A. The protesting drivers demanded the dismissal of the petition instead of adjourning it.
Since August 1, there have been repeated protests in the state against any change in Article 35A and Article 370, with the state’s main political parties such as the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party taking to the streets. Senior Congress leaders in the state have also warned of a massive agitation if Article 35A is tweaked.
While Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A disallows people from the rest of India from buying or owning immovable property in the state, settle permanently, or get state government jobs.