Shutdown Enters 13th Week In Kashmir


KO Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR – Business and other activities remained crippled on Wednesday in the Kashmir valley, where people are protesting since August 5 against scrapping of Article 370 and 35 A, besides dividing the state into Union Territories.

Shops and business establishments, which were functioning daily for about three hours in the morning in Srinagar, including historic Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the summer capital, remained closed for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, when a delegation of Members of European Parliament (MEP) is on a two day visit to Kashmir from Tuesday.

The Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMFs) remained deployed to prevent people from gathering at historic Jamia Masjid in the down town. All main gates of the worship place are closed for devotees and CPMF remained deployed in the Jamia market and outside to prevent people from assembling there. No prayers could be allowed in the Masjid, stronghold of chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq since August 5.

Train service between Baramulla in north Kashmir to Banihal in Jammu region remained suspended since August 5 for security reasons. The internet service and pre-paid mobile network of all Cellular companies, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), remained suspended since August 5 as a precautionary measure in the valley, badly affecting professionals, students, doctors and media persons.

Business and other activities remained paralysed and traffic off the roads on Wednesday since August 5 in the summer capital, Srinagar and outskirts. Shops and business establishments which were functioning for about three hours from 0700 hrs till 1000 hrs daily remained closed following visit of EU MPs to Kashmir.

Passenger traffic, including the buses of State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses, remained off the roads. Very less number of private vehicles, as compared to previous days, were also seen plying on different routes, particularly in the uptown and civil lines. However, in the down town very few private vehicles were seen plying.
Security forces burst teargas shells and resorted to lathicharge to disperse stone pelting demonstrators have blocked at over a dozen places in different parts of the city.

Shops and business establishments remained closed in this and other district and tehsil headquarters of south Kashmir, a report from Anantnag said. Very less number of private vehicles were seen plying on the roads as passenger traffic remained off the roads.
A complete shut down also continued in south Kashmir district of Kulgam, where five West Bengal residents were killed by unidentified gunmen on Tuesday night. The deceased were working as labourers there for the past some time.
Additional CPMFs remained deployed to prevent any stone pelting on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, passing through south Kashmir districts.

A report from Baramulla said that business and other activities remained crippled since August 5 in this and other north Kashmir districts. Traffic was off the roads though some vehicles were seen plying on Srinagar-Uri highway. Additional security forces have been deployed on bridges, connecting down town with civil lines in Baramulla and Sopore towns to foil any demonstration.

Similar reports were also received from central Kashmir districts of Ganderbal and Badgam.

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