Srinagar: Normal life was paralysed across Kashmir Valley as people observed shutdown, while restrictions were imposed by the authorities on the occasion of Republic Day on January 26.
All shops and business establishments remained shut amid heavy security installations following which most people stayed indoors. There was no movement of private or public transport in both urban as well as rural areas as Republic Day functions were held across 10 districts in the Valley.
The commercial hub of Lal Chowk – in central Srinagar – remained shut as all major shopping centres were closed while observing the shutdown. Some of the key roads in the city were also barricaded by the authorities as part of security arrangements for the day.
Further, the mobile internet services remained suspended, which were snapped across the region in the midnight hours by the government, as a part of security measure to thwart any law and order situation. The Republic day celebration, according to police, concluded without any major incident of violence or law and order situation.
A call for strike was, however, given by a representative of separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.
The mobile internet blockade comes at a time when the internet services in the region have been working on limited 2G speed since the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of erstwhile J&K into two union territories.
People in the region have been observing shutdown on the national holidays—Republic Day and the Independence Day—for years, especially since the early 1990s as a mark of protest against the authorities in Kashmir.
In Jammu, the winter capital of J&K union territory, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha unfurled the tricolour and took salute at the march past in the Republic Day function held at the city’s MA stadium.
LG Sinha, while presiding over the Republic Day function, termed the recently held District Development Council (DDC) polls as one of “the biggest achievements of the government”.
“For a long-time, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir were denied grassroots democracy. We have been successful in conducting free and fair elections to DDC. The high turnout of voters broke the records of many previous elections,” LG Sinha said.
The LG added that the government forces have been successful in controlling the violence and that the political designs of Pakistan to foment trouble in the region will never be allowed to succeed.
In Srinagar, the tricolour was unfurled by advisor to Lt. Governor Baseer Khan at the city’s Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium. The Jammu and Kashmir police and CRPF paramilitary forces participated in the parade amid heavy security vigil including the aerial surveillance by specially-deployed drones.