Srinagar: A partial shutdown was observed in Kashmir Valley on the fifth death anniversary of militant commander Burhan Wani, whose killing resulted in an agitation that lasted for several months in 2016.
All shops and business establishments remained shut in the commercial areas of Lal Chowk and downtown Srinagar while many others observed a shutdown in civil lines area as well as in rural parts of the valley.
The situation remained tense across the Valley, especially in parts of Srinagar and south Kashmir where the shutdown coincided with the killing of four militants in two separate anti-insurgency operations in Pulwama and Kulgam.
All the slain militants were affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), according to the IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar.
Public transport plied intermittently in several areas due to the shutdown observed in the wake of the death anniversary of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, who was killed in Bumdoora area of Kokernag in south Kashmir alongwith two other associates.
More than 100 civilians were later killed as the region descended into protests and demonstrations. The government forces were accused of using excessive force while dealing with the protesters and over a thousand were hit by pellets in their eyes, leaving them either fully or partially blind.
Critics also blamed the then government led by a coalition of the People’s Democractic Party and Bhartiya Janata Party for responding to the situation with mass arrests of dissenting voices.
The Thursday shutdown comes as a serious concern for security agencies who have so far been successful in thwarting all forms of major protests in the region, especially since the revocation of Article 370 which, many believed, was abrogated arbitrarily by the New Delhi government on August 5, 2019.
Pertinently, shutdowns in the region were observed by the people on the call of Hurriyat leadership, most of whom are currently serving detention in various jails in Jammu and Kashmir and in Delhi.
A call for shutdown was, however, given by Abdullah Geelani, the Pakistan-based representative of ailing Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani. The representative, in a statement shared on Twitter, also called for another shutdown to be observed on July 13, the day that was annually observed as the official state holiday - Martyr’s Day - until the authorities scrapped it in 2019.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq issued a statement on Thursday calling out the increasing violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The separatist amalgam called for “talks” between India-Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The fast changing geopolitical reality of the region also points to the need for urgent conflict resolution,” the APHC statement read.