Unprecedented Shutdown In Kashmir As SC Hears Petitions Challenging Article 35-A

SRINAGAR, AUGUST 6: Life across the Kashmir Valley remained adversely affected for the second consecutive day due to an unprecedented shutdown on Monday.

Separatist conglomerate, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for the protest shutdown to voice support for Article 35A. Dozens of trade and industry bodies have supported the strike call.

A Delhi based NGO, ‘We the Citizens’ has filed a petition challenging the validity of article 35 A that guarantees hereditary special citizenship rights to the people of J&K and bars non-state residents from buying land and applying in various government jobs in the State.

The petition seeking abrogation of this article will be heard by the apex court on Monday.

The J&K government led by Governor N N Vohra has already submitted a plea in the apex court seeking adjournment of the petition against article 35 A.

Shops, markets, fuel stations, public transport, other businesses and educational institutions remained closed here and other district headquarters of the valley.

Very few private vehicles were seen moving on city roads here and elsewhere in the valley.

Authorities have placed senior separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest.

Although Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), has evaded arrest by going underground.

A statement issued by the JRL yesterday said Malik will “provide leadership” in case of any adverse ruling on Article 35-A. They have warned of a mass agitation in case Article 35-A is tinkered with.

“Any anti-Kashmiri verdict on 6th August 2018, will face a full-fledged people’s agitation in Jammu Kashmir and JRL leader Muhammad Yasin Malik in fact has gone into hiding keeping this in mind, so that people are provided with leadership on ground in such situation,” said the statement, issued by the JRL yesterday.

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Authorities suspended the Amarnath Yatra from Jammu to Srinagar for the second day on Monday because of the shutdown.

An official, however, said pilgrims who have already reached the Baltal and Pahalgam base camps will continue to perform the Yatra on Monday.

Rail services between the valley and the Bannihal town of Jammu region also remained suspended for the second day.

Although heavy deployments of police and paramilitary forces have been made in Srinagar and other sensitive areas yet no restrictions were imposed anywhere.

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