Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu region observed a complete shutdown on Thursday to protest against any tampering with the special constitutional rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, a day before Supreme Court hears a petition against Article 35A. The Joint Resistance Leadership, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, gave the call for a complete shutdown to protest against a bunch of petitions seeking to scrap Article 35A. The separatists have also called for a complete shutdown on August 31, when the matter comes up for hearing in court.
The separatists claimed it is an attempt to change the demography of the state. Normal life came to a standstill in the Valley with all business establishments remaining shut and people staying indoors. Schools were shut and attendance in government offices and banks remained thin. Public and private transport stayed off the roads.
Several parts of the Jammu region also observed a shutdown, including in Rajouri and Poonch in Pir Panjal of Jammu region. Reports of a shutdown were also received from Chenab region of Jammu, including Doda and Kishtwar. The state government has deployed large contingents of police and paramilitary forces across the Valley to prevent any protests and curbs have been imposed on civilian movement in several parts of Kashmir. Trade bodies have called for daily protests across the Valley and people marched towards Lal Chowk for a sit-in protest on Thursday despite the heavy security deployment.
Separatist leaders were also put under house arrest. “Despite curbs, curfews, house arrests complete strike across J&K as people express their strong resentment & protest against the nefarious design of tinkering with state subject laws. No amount of coercion will deter people from fighting this assault with all our might & conviction!” Mirwaiz tweeted.