On Friday, Kashmir observed a complete shutdown following the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership over the killing of Aligarh Muslim University’s (AMU) PhD scholar-turned-militant Dr. Manan Bashir Wani.
Manan was killed along with his associate Ashiq Hussain Zargar in an encounter at Shatgun Qalamabad Lolab, an area of North Kashmir’s Kupwara district on October 11, 2018. He joined the militant ranks on January 7 this year. According to police officials, Manan, a geology scholar, had no criminal record before joining militants.
On the evening of the day of Manan’s killing, his funeral prayer was offered at his native village Takipora Lolab. Reports said that over a thousand people visited the village and participated in the funeral prayers. Meanwhile, three Kashmiri students, who offered absentia funeral prayers to Manan, were suspended by the authorities of Aligarh Muslim University.
In response to the shutdown call, a majority of the business establishments and shops remained closed and roads across the valley appeared deserted. There was no local transport, while the presence of private vehicles was very sparse.
Ahead of the shutdown call, heavy police and paramilitary forces had been deployed in many districts of Kashmir, mostly in Handwara, Kupwara and downtown Srinagar.
Internet in cellphones in Kupwara district has been suspended since Thursday and in the rest of the parts, high-speed internet has been reduced to 2G.
Local train service in Kashmir has also been suspended since Thursday. This is the third time this week that train services have been suspended in the valley. Earlier, train services were suspended during phase I and II of the Urban Local Body Elections.
Classes in all educational institutes in Kashmir were also suspended. Speaking with Newsclick, officials said that this has been done keeping in mind the law and order situation, adding that classes will resume once the situation returns to normal.
Impact on Third ULB poll phase
On October 13, 2018, the third phase of Urban Local Body Elections will start. The escalated law and order situation is expected to take a toll on voter participation in the elections, which was not free from disturbances even during the first two phases on October 8 and 10.
Notably, during the second phase of the elections, Shaleen Kabra, Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmi,r had ordered re-poll at one polling station under the Ward 23 of the Municipal Council of Anantnag, which will be done in the third phase.
As per the notification issued by the Chief Election Officer, “the poll taken on 10 October 10, 2018, at polling station no. 04, New Colony, Shirpora Payeen of Ward No. 23 (Shirpora Bala) of Municipal Council Anantnag is declared to be a void and fresh poll at the said polling station shall take place on October 13, 2018 from 6.00 AM to 4.00 PM”.