Geelani-called shutdown affects life in Kashmir Valley (Lead)

Geelani has said the decision to issue Dogra certificates to residents of Jammu region "is part of a bigger conspiracy to divide the state on religious and ethnic lines".

Although the state government intends to issue Dogra certificates in Jammu region to all residents, without any discrimination on the basis of religion, the decision has raised apprehensions in the valley as the separatists interpret the decision "as discrimination against those living in the Valley".

The logic behind issuing Dogra certificates is to enable holders seek reservations in recruitment in the paramilitary forces, which according to an order issued by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Jan 11, would be available to Dogras, Marathas and people living in the hilly regions of the state like the cold desert Ladakh region, argue supporters of the Dogra certificate.

While marginal public transport plied here, shops and business establishments remained closed. However, work in government offices, banks and post offices continued normally.

Although private transport and auto-rickshaws plied normally on some roads in Srinagar city, yet most streets and markets wore a deserted look. Prominent public schools here remained closed.

The erstwhile autocratic rulers of Jammu and Kashmir were Hindu Dogras belonging to the Jammu region.

Reports reaching here from other major towns of the Valley indicated the shutdown had affected life there as well.

Sources here said the state government would approach the home ministry to modify its order so that reservations in recruitments to the paramilitary forces are extended to all the residents of the state.


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