May 2016 News

Shutdown In Kashmir Against Soldier Colonies, Pandit Settlements

26 May 2016
Nazir Masoodi

Srinagar: There was a shutdown in the Kashmir valley on Thursday in response to a call by separatist groups to protest against the establishment of colonies for retired soldiers and migrant Kashmiri Pandits. Separatist groups say while they are not against the return of Pandits, they will resist Sainik (soldier) colonies and exclusive settlements for Pandits. The state government says needless controversies are being created to disrupt peace in Kashmir and no land has been identified and sanctioned for Sainik colonies. The government, however, says they want a dignified return of Pandits to their homeland. Police have arrested separatist leaders who had called for the strike. Yasin Malik, chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front was arrested from his office on Wednesday and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, top Hurriyat leader, has been placed under house arrest. The strike has affected normal life in the valley. Shops, business establishments and schools were closed. Attendance in government offices had also been affected due to the strike. The issue of setting up colonies for retired soldiers has become a major flashpoint in the state and opposition parties like National Conference have also raised a banner resistance. The issue is likely to dominate the budget session of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly.