Rumours Spark Near Total Shutdown Across Kashmir

KO Photo: Abid Bhat

SRINAGAR – Shops and businesses were shut and public transport remained largely off the roads in most parts of Kashmir on the second consecutive day on Thursday, after posters warning shopkeepers against opening their establishments appeared in some areas.

The posters calling for shutdown also appeared a day before Union Home Minister Amit Shah said in Parliament that normalcy had returned to the valley.

Officials said the shutdown was observed in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts in central Kashmir, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir and in some areas in the north.

Shop owners did not open their establishments during the morning hours they did over the past few weeks, they said.

Public transport remained largely off the roads in the city and elsewhere in the valley. However, a few auto-rickshaws and inter-district cabs were plying, the officials said.

Pre-paid mobile phones and all internet services continue to remain suspended since August 5, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.

Most of the top level and second-rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

The government has detained former chief minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah under the controversial Public Safety act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.

Police warns rumour mongers

Police on Thursday warned those elements who were spreading rumours in Srinagar and said some anti-national elements were trying to destabilize the normal situation.

SSP Srinagar city, Dr Haseeb Mughal said, “Some elements were spreading rumors to create fear and destabilize the normal situation in Srinagar. Nobody will be allowed to spoil the peace in the city and those spreading rumors will be dealt according to the law.”

“We won’t allow these elements to take the society hostage for their petty interests. Soon these elements will be identified and arrested. We appeal the people to cooperate with the police and also resume their normal activities without any fear. J&K police is there for the safety of people,” he added.

Appealing the people not to give any heed to any rumors, the SSP said, “In case of any clarification, they (people) should contact nearest police station. We also appeal people to help the police in nabbing the rumor mongers so that they can carry on with their normal activities without any issues.”  

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