Traders observe Kashmir bandh

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Cong protests ‘unholy alliance’

Srinagar: Shops and business establishments in the heart of the city remained shut today as traders went on a protest against the government over its alleged failure to rehabilitate the merchants affected by last year’s floods. “Shops in and around the commercial hub of Lal Chowk were shut, while similar reports were received from other parts of the city,” officials said. 

The strike has been was called by Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) coinciding with the re-opening of the Civil Secretariat here after remaining functional in winter capital Jammu for six months as part of the century-old practice of ‘Darbar Move’. The traders also took out a protest march from Budshah Chowk here towards the Civil Secretariat but were stopped by the police, officials added.

Police resorted to fire tear gas shells and used batons to disperse the protesting traders as they persisted with the march, they said. 

KTMF President Mohammad Yasin Khan said they would fight till each of the affected traders is rehabilitated with dignity. “We are not demanding anything but what is our right. The government has done nothing to address our problems. We will continue our fight,” he said.

Most of the trade bodies have supported the strike. However, transporters stayed away from the protest, ensuring normal movement of public transport.

Meanwhile, The Congress workers led by J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir also staged a protest against what they termed “unholy alliance” of PDP and BJP. As the Congress workers were passing through Budshah Chowk area, they came under stone pelting from local youth, who chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Police fired tear smoke shells to disperse the stone pelting youth.

Congress in its April 26 Convention had decided to go for Secretariat Gherao with the aim to press the Govt for redressing the grievances of Flood affected people, Traders, Employees, unemployed youth, roll back of job policy etc.

Senior Congress Leaders, Legislatures, Office bearers and hundreds of Party workers participated in the march raising Slogan against the polices of Coalition Govt, they protested against the non-seriousness of the Coalition Govt and termed it a “bundle of lies, confusing and problematic for the common masses”.

Mir lashed out at PDP for misleading the masses under the garb of stopping mission 44+ Mission of BJP, during elections, and said PDP was now enjoying power and dancing to the  tune of RSS and BJP. 

Stones pelted  at Cong march

Srinagar: As the Congress protest march was moving towards Secretariat, stone throwing broke out in Srinagar’s Maisuma, which created chaos in the area as police fired tear smoke shells. 

The stone pelting forced retreat of Congress men and later led to a brief clash between police and the protesting youth. 

The youth were raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.

Sources said the clashes spread to inner lanes of Maisuma and Gawkadal during which government forces fired dozens of teargas and pepper shells. The clashes continued for several hours during which several people including cops sustained injuries, witnesses said.  “Many youth were hit by pellets,” a protester said.

A youth from Habakadal locality was arrested for allegedly hurling stones on the police, a charge denied by him. “I am an auto driver and had arrived here to take my three-wheeler,” the youth yelled after his arrest. 

The photo and video journalists covering the incident faced the wrath of the police. The cops reportedly pounced upon scribes and beat them to pulp. “I was beaten by the armed policemen. They abused me,” ANI video journalist Sajid Ahmed said while displaying his wounded arm. Other scribes who were beaten and abused were identified as Mubashir Ahmed, Shah Jahangir and Raqib Hamid.

Engineer Rashid held

SRINAGAR:  Jammu and Kashmir Police has detained independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid when he tried to take out a march to the civil secretariat in Srinagar against the proposed plan of setting up a separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits.

Rashid along with his supporters took out a protest march from Batamaloo towards the civil secretariat against the proposed plan.

As soon as the independent MLA from Langate reached the Fire and Emergency headquarters, the police took him into preventive custody and lodged him at the police station in Shaheedgunj.

Rashid was later taken to his residence in Jawahar Nagar by a police team.

While police officials said that the MLA has been released, Rashid alleged that he was not allowed to leave his home.

Before being detained, Rashid told reporters that he was not against the return of the Pandits, but opposed the move to create separate colonies for them.

“We are against the separate townships. We welcome the Pandits, but they should settle at their native places,” he said.

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