Life in J&K crippled as 2-day 35-A Article strike begins

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Civilian killed, another injured in troops’ firing

Srinagar

Life in Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu province Saturday came to a standstill due to a complete shutdown called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) against a reference in the Supreme Court of India on the validity of Article 35-A, which bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from acquiring any immovable property in the state. Any abrogation of this core Article can change the entire demography of the J&K region, highly damaging the political destiny of Kashmiris.
Shops and business establishments were closed across the Kashmir valley while all kinds of transport remained off roads due to the strike call.
Shutdown was also oberved in Chenab Valley of the Jammu division. Protests were held in Gool area of Ramban against attack on the constitutional provision.
Traders staged a sit-in at the historic clock tower in Lal Chowk to protest the “legal onslaught” on the Article 35-A.
The JRL has called for a two-day strike — today and tomorrow — as Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a PIL challenging the validity of the Article 35-A tomorrow.
Fearing some unexpected outcome, the state government has filed an application before the Registrar of the Supreme Court, informing that it is going to seek adjournment of the hearing of the petition in view of the “ongoing preparations for the upcoming Panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state”.
The officials said security forces have been deployed in strength at vulnerable places in the city and elsewhere in Kashmir for maintaining law and order.
The situation across the valley is peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere so far, they said.
Various organisations included Bar Association, transporters and traders’ bodies have extended support to the shutdown call.
Protests have been held across the length and breadth of Kashmir over the past few days with mainstream parties like the National Conference and PDP also holding rallies in support of continuing Article 35-A.In occupied Kashmir, life came to a standstill due to a complete shutdown, today, against the Indian attempts to abrogate the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution that grants special rights to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and bars non-locals from purchasing land and property in the territory.
Call for the two-day strike commencing from today was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership and supported by legal, trader bodies and civil society organizations. All shops and business establishments were closed while traffic was off the road. Indian army and police personnel were deployed in strength to prevent anti-India protests. Train service was suspended in the territory. The two-day shutdown is aimed at expressing resentment against the hearing in the Indian Supreme Court, tomorrow, of the petitions seeking the repeal of the Article 35-A. A 14-member team of IOK Bar Association will appear before the Supreme Court to oppose the petitions.
Indian authorities placed Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai under house detention and arrested Muhammad Yasin Malik in Srinagar in a bid to stop them from leading protests. The authorities also arrested Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, Mohammad Yousuf Naqash, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza and Molvi Bashir Ahmad Irfani and put Engineer Hilal Ahmad War, Bilal Ahmad Sidiqui, Zafar Akbar Butt and Javed Ahmad Mir under house arrest.
Kashmiri traders and manufactures, today, held a sit-in protest at Lal Chowk in Srinagar to protest the Indian attempts to scrap Article 35-A of the Indian constitution.
Meanwhile, Indian troops martyred one more civilian and critically injured another in firing in Gool area of Ramban district in Jammu region. The locals told media that the martyred Muhammad Shafi Gujjar and injured Shakeel Ahmad were engaged in cattle trade.
Funerals in absentia were held for six youth martyred by Indian troops in Shopian district, yesterday. Scores of people assembled at Maisuma in Srinagar after Zuhr prayers and offered the funeral prayers.
Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation(KTMF) members, held a sit-in protest at Ghanta Ghar (clock tower), Lal Chowk, to protest the attempts to scrap Article 35-A.
The KTMF members arrived at the historic Lal Chowk while carrying placards and banners. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a two-day strike, today, and tomorrow, as Indian Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a petition challenging the validity of the Article 35-A, tomorrow.
Also, the 27 traders body have already issued a week-long protest programme against the legal challenge in the Indian Supreme Court on the validity of Article 35-A, which bars people from outside Kashmir from acquiring any immovable property in the territory.
Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust, Kargil, has given a strike call for tomorrow, Monday, against the BJP attempts to abrogate Article 35-A of Indian constitution.
The Trust in a statement said that no one would be allowed to fiddle with the special status of the occupied territory.—KMS

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