Clashes, shutdown in Kashmir on EU MPs' visit

Last Updated 29 October 2019, 15:38 IST

Several persons were injured on Tuesday as clashes erupted between protesters and security forces in several parts of Kashmir, where normal life remained disrupted for 86th day following the abrogation of state’s special status under Article 370.

The clashes broke out on a day when a delegation of 23 European Union MPs arrived here for a first-hand assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following revocation of Article 370. A convoy of security vehicles escorted the MPs, who were travelling in bullet-proof vehicles, from the airport to their hotel where a traditional Kashmiri welcome awaited them.

Police said clashes broke out at several places in Kashmir including parts of Srinagar city. The clashes were going on in many places till late in the evening with reports of injuries to several protesters received.

Reports said that stone-pelters damaged hundreds of vehicles across Kashmir on Tuesday. While private transport is plying in Kashmir since last more than a month despite shutdown, public transport is off the roads for the last almost three months.

Street vendors, who had regularly set up their stalls over the past one month, also did not turn up today while shopkeepers who would carry their business from 7 am to 10 am also didn’t open their shops.

However, board examinations for class 10 were held as per schedule with worried parents waiting outside exam halls for their children. There was report of firing incident outside an examination hall in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

“The situation is not conducive for students to write their papers. The government should have postponed today’s paper as even private transport is off roads today, Muzaffar Ahmad, a parent who was waiting outside an examination hall in Srinagar, said.

As many as 65000 students were supposed to appear in the examination for which the Board of School Education (BOSE) had set up over 615 examination centres across Kashmir.

The efforts of the government to open schools over the past three months have not borne any fruit as parents kept children at home due to apprehensions about their safety.

Though no organisation or party has called for a shutdown in Kashmir, a spontaneous strike is being observed since August 5 across the Valley. Most of the mainstream political leaders, including three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — have been placed under detention.

(Published 29 October 2019, 15:18 IST)

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