Post threats, shutdown returns to Kashmir

A deserted view of a market during shutdown, in Srinagar. (PTI Photo)

Amid reports of threatening posters appearing in various parts of Kashmir, shutdown returned in Srinagar and elsewhere in the valley on Friday with shops and business establishments remaining closed throughout the day.

The public transport, which had resumed from last week, was also off the roads in the city following the threatening posters. Main markets in the city were shut and shops did not open even for a few hours in the morning as they had been doing for the last several weeks, reports said.

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

Schools which had reopened for the new session from last week also remained closed as well. Even street vendors kept away from usually busy flea markets.

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.

No Friday congregational prayers were allowed at historic Jamia Masjid in the old city for 16th consecutive week. Since August 5, Friday prayers have been barred at the Jamia Masjid. 

A police official told DH that authorities fear that vested interests might exploit large gatherings at Jamia Masjid to fuel protests due to which congregational prayers are not allowed. He said those involved in threatening the shopkeepers and pasting the threatening posters “will be identified and arrested soon.”

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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