It was a day of protests in Kashmir. And for a change, the grievances were more civic than political.
The day started with hundreds of public health engineering (PHE) employees converging at press enclave in capital Srinagar's Red Square (Lal Chowk) to put across their point to the government.
These daily-wagers and casual workers of the PHE department were solely demanding regularisation of their services and timely payment of their wages. Their efforts to march towards the office of Kashmir's divisional head turned futile after police swooped on them with canes and batons.
“Some managed to reach the Red Square but were dispersed by police while others were taken into custody from the press colony,” an eyewitness said.
Although the employees failed to reach divisional commissioner's office hardly a few hundred meters away from the square, but the chaos after police crackdown was enough to disrupt traffic and business in the commercial centre.
With some semblance of normalcy returning in the city centre another protest rally was held in the afternoon. The protest march was organised by self selected civil society of the Valley against the fake drugs scam which recently shook the state.
The members of the society marched from Municipal Park towards Press Colony (hardly one kilometre distance) prompting authorities to totally divert traffic to other routes.
“Although I acknowledge the issue which they are raising but at the same time I lost a day of business,” said a shopkeeper expressing his ambivalence.
And when city protested how countryside could remain behind.
In south Kashmir's Ananatnag district a group of people took out a peaceful protest march against what they said was the prevalence of “spurious drugs and unhygienic drinking water” in the valley.
Under the banner of little know South Kashmir Civil Society group, the demonstrators started from industrial estate Anantnag and marched through various streets of the town and finally culminated at deputy commissioner's office.