Militant OGWs trying to enforce shutdown in Kashmir

 A vendor sells fruits outside closed shops at market during shutdown in Srinagar, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. The shutdown was intensified a day after threatening posters appeared in the many parts of the Valley. Photo/PTI

As threatening posters by militants have enforced a shutdown in Kashmir again, police have launched a crackdown and arrested dozens of suspects who were allegedly threatening traders and transporters and had ‘links’ with militants.

“In a coordinated manner, militant groups with the support from overground workers (OGW) network have been successful in threatening traders and transporters in Kashmir, especially in Srinagar, since last one week. In recent days, we have detained dozens of suspects and they are being questioned,” a senior police officer told DH.

He revealed that OGW modules of militants were active across Kashmir and were trying to enforce the shutdown. “While they have been successful to some extent, the arrests in the last few days is bound to break the backbone of the terror modules. 

Posters appeared in several areas of the city on Wednesday warning shopkeepers against opening their shutters and public transport operators from plying their vehicles. This ended a brief semblance of normalcy which had returned across Kashmir in the previous days after more than three months of spontaneous shutdown.

The people across the Valley observed spontaneous shutdown since August 5 to protest against the centre’s decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile State into two union territories.

On Sunday most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in the city and other areas in the valley remained stayed shut for the fifth consecutive day, reports said. Public transport largely remained off the roads in the city as well as elsewhere in the Valley. 

However, auto-rickshaws and inter-district cabs were seen plying normally while weekly Sunday flea market around city centre Lal Chowk also witnessed the rush of customers throughout the day. With winter having already set in, people were seen purchasing woollens from the flea market.

Pre-paid mobile phones, SMS and all Internet services continue to remain suspended across the Valley since August 5. Most top-level and second-rung separatist politicians are in preventive custody while mainstream leaders, including three former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

Official figures reveal, 41 people have been killed in J&K since August 5, which includes 18 militants, five locals and 12 non-locals killed by militants and two security forces personnel.

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