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J&K: Normal Life Disrupted as Jammu Observes Shutdown Called by Bar Association

Anees Zargar |
They demand a multipurpose building in the city's high court complex to house tribunals, registration office and commission.
J&K High court

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: Livelaw

Srinagar: Normal life in Jammu city was disrupted in the wake of a shutdown called by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHCBA). They demand a multipurpose building in the city's high court complex to house tribunals, registration office and commission.

Most of the shops and business establishments in busy markets of Jammu, including the Narwal Sabzi market and fruit market, Gandhi Nagar, Bari Brahmana and other key parts of Jammu city, remained affected. According to reports, scores of lawyers took to the streets on Monday morning to enforce the shutdown and held a protest rally in some parts where they also burnt tyres, disrupting transport services.

"Today, the people of Jammu have expressed their solidarity with the Jammu bar association by observing the shutdown," one protester told NewsClick.

The lawyers' body said the building would help the lawyers' fraternity and the general public. The strike call has been supported by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries (JCCI), traders' federation, retailers' association, a socio-religious party Yuva Rajput Sabha and political parties including National Conference (NC), People's Democratic Party (PDP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and National Panther's Party (NPP).

The bar association claimed they had received letters of support from other district bars of the province, including from Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri, Poonch and Doda and Kishtwar.

"We were waiting for a response from the government to issue an order to construct a multi-story complex within the court premises that will accommodate all the tribunals, commissions and registration work. But, we have not received any such order so far," Jammu Bar president MK Bhardwaj said during a presser.

The lawyers have been demanding that all the judicial and quasi-judicial systems be run from the same place. The protesters said they would continue to hold the demonstration until the Union territory administration led by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha responds to their demands. The protesters alleged that the UT government is behaving like East India Company with no regard for the common masses.

"We have all gathered here for the cause of Dogras of Jammu. The offices for registration work are scattered across the province. It is totally disorganised. For CAT (Central Administrative Tribunal) cases, people have to go to Chandigarh. For bank loan cases, you have to go to Chandigarh. The government doesn't seem to know how a poor man can handle this. You cannot parachute from Delhi and impose a dictatorship," a protesting lawyer said.

The strike call was also supported by other organisations like Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Welfare Conference J&K, who said that the Bar Association's demands are "genuine" and in the general public's interest.

Members of the Yuva Rajput Sabha have also demanded that the birth anniversary of Dogra ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, be observed as an annual holiday on September 24.

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