Kashmir shut down completely on Sunday in protest ahead of Monday’s hearing in the Supreme Court on a batch of petitions challenging the validity Article 35 A of the Constitution that guarantees special privileges to the state.
Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar woke up to desolate roads and markets as businesses and shops were closed and public transport off the roads amid heavy deployment of security forces in sensitive places.
Many residents said that the shutdown was unprecedented citing the example of auto-rickshaws which are off the roads which has happened on rare occasions in the past 30 years of unrest. Even the Dal Lake’s iconic Shikaras (leisure boats) lay moored in the jetties.
The fear that the state’s special status will be revoked through a legal route is palpable.
“There is an unprecedented concern among people that our special status will be revoked and our land will open to machinations from outside. How can we remain silent?” said 34-year-old Javaid Ahmad, a Shikara owner.
State authorities suspended movement of Amarnath Yatra convoys from Jammu to Kashmir owing to the shutdown even though the pilgrims present in Kashmir were allowed to move towards the cave shrine from the two base camps.
A sit-in followed by a protest rally was organized by traders in the city-centre against any change in state’s special status.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will...