R-Day: People Stay Home Amid Security, Internet Clampdown 

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SRINAGAR — A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir Valley on Saturday amid official R-day functions at Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley which went incident-free amid tough security curbs.  

The government blockaded mobile internet services for entire day but unlike in the past, mobile phone services remained operational this time around. 

All shops and other commercial establishments are shut across Kashmir. Roads are wearing a deserted look as no traffic plied. Only government forces vehicles were seen plying in Lal Chowk, Moulana Azad Road and Residency Road besides parts of Old City including MahrajGunj, SafaKadal, Khanyar, Rainawari and Nowhatta.  

Reports from various district headquarters suggested that complete shutdown is being observed in Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag. Similar reports poured in from Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts. There was no movement of inter-district transport.

The call for the strike was given by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising both factions of Hurriyat Conference lead respectively by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq besides JKLF-led by Muhammad Yasin Malik . The JRL had urged people to observe the January 26 as “black day to register their strong protest against the government of India’s policy of non-resolution of Kashmir issue.”  

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“For the past 71 years, people of J&K are demanding the right to self-determination that the leadership of India promised to them not only in the UN or the parliament but reiterated at Lal Chowk in Srinagar by none other than Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,” the JRL had said, adding: “However, till this day not only has that commitment not been fulfilled.”

Lakhs of armed forces are deployed to suppress the aspirations of people and draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA are invoked to ensure people’s sentiments do not get out of hand, the JRL said. 

“Hundreds of people are lodged and languishing in jails in J&K and outside whose only crime is their demand for restoration of basic human and political rights the fundamental right to decide their destiny,” the statement read. “Every voice raised for it is muzzled through military might. Our youth are targeted and killed whether armed to resist forcible control or unarmed. Our homes are blown up by explosives, our orchards and crops destroyed. Even our toddlers are not spared the bullets and pellets. All means of protest are barred and curbed for us.”

Meanwhile, police in a statement issued here said the 70th Republic Day was celebrated today with zeal and passion across the Kashmir valley.

Police and other forces besides students from various schools and colleges participated in Republic Day parades in all the districts of Valley, a police spokesman said.

“Various contingents of police, Home Guards, Fire & Emergency Services, Forest Protection Forces, IRP and CAPFs participated in Republic Day parades in Kashmir valley).”

In Srinagar, the advisor to Governor Khursheed Ahmad Ganie unfurled the tricolor and took salute at the march past at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium, while as in other districts, the respective Deputy Commissioners presided over the official parades.

The contingents of police and other forces marched past the flag in all district headquarters.

Various colourful cultural programmes were also presented by the students of different schools and colleges, the spokesman said.

The prizes were distributed among the best contingents of parade, cultural programmes, meritorious students and other participants, he said.  

“Large number of people witnessed the functions in all district headquarters of Kashmir Valley,” the spokesman added.

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