February 2019 News

Pulwama Blast Aftermath: Kashmir Shuts Against Mob Attacks

17 February 2019
Greater Kashmir
Saqib Malik

Srinagar: Kashmir as well as some parts of Chenab Valley observed a complete shutdown on Sunday against mob attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and some other states in the past two days. The call for shutdown was given by various Kashmir-based trade bodies. All commercial establishments remained closed in Srinagar and elsewhere, while public and private transport was off the roads. The roads in the commercial hub of LalChowk wore a deserted look while the weekly Sunday market also remained closed. The shutdown was called by the Kashmir economic alliance (KEA), Kashmir traders and manufacturers federation (KTMF) and other trade bodies. Strict restrictions were imposed in Srinagar areas and some other parts of Kashmir to prevent any protests. Amid heavy deployment of forces, frisking of commuters was witnessed at several places, even as mobile internet service remained, suspended in most parts of the Valley, was later restored. An official said the service was suspended as a 'precautionary measure' to 'prevent spreading of sensitive material that could disturb law and order situation in the valley following widespread violence in Jammu region'. A complete shutdown was also observed in the highway town of Banihal in Chenab Valley to protest mob attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu. A report said shops and other business establishments were closed in the town, while thin movement of traffic was seen on the roads. Locals said they were against 'innocent people being targeted in Jammu and other parts of the country'. 'It is unfortunate that common Kashmiris are being intimidated and threatened. We will stand by them,' said Farooq Ahmad, a resident of Banihal. Meanwhile, protests by traders and transporters against assaults on Kashmiris continued for the second consecutive day Sunday. Members of a faction of KEA, who were joined by local transporters, held a protest near the tourist reception centre (TRC) in Srinagar. Shouting pro-Kashmir slogans, several drivers whose vehicles were damaged in mob attacks at Jammu joined the protest and demanded compensation from the government. The business community has given a 48-hour 'ultimatum' to the government to control the situation in Jammu, said president, KTMF, Muhammad Yaseen Khan. 'The impact of the shutdown has proved that arson and rioting are unacceptable to us. The anti-social elements will face serious consequences if these attacks continue,' Khan said. 'Our two-day ultimatum on controlling the situation is a final word from us. In case these attacks continue, we will have to think of a fitting reply,' he said. Meanwhile, the federation chamber of industries Kashmir (FCIK) held an emergency meeting Sunday to discuss attacks on Kashmiris in several states. In a statement, a spokesman of FCIK said it is the responsibility of the government to 'protect the life and property of its citizens and to uphold the dignity of its people at all occasions, come what may'. 'The attacks that took place at various places including Jammu where property of the minority community was damaged and vandalised are condemnable. The state cannot be a mute spectator at such times and the complicity of civil administration must be questioned,' said Muhammad Ashraf Mir, FCIK president. The FCIK urged its counterparts in Jammu to 'rise to the occasion and save the situation from worsening'. It also urged the state and the central government to ensure the security of Kashmiris living across the country.