A general shutdown is being observed in Kashmir valley against the “growing attacks on Kashmiri students” outside the state, in the backdrop of unrest at Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology.
The call for bandh was given by separatist leaders including Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik and veteran hard-line leader Syed Ali Geelani.
The shutdown call had a profound effect on the life in the Valley. Shops and business establishments remained closed in Srinagar. Traffic movement on the roads was very thin.
Most of the educational institutes in the capital remained closed while attendance in government offices was thin.
Work in courts also was affected, as the High Court Bar Association supported the shutdown call.
Geelani and moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have been put under house arrest. Malik was taken into preventive custody on Sunday night by the police.
Srinagar’s National Institute of Technology has been on the boil after many non-Kashmiri students clashed with local students who celebrated the win of West Indies over India in the world T20 semi final cricket match on March 31.
Non-local students objected to the celebrations and also allegedly beat up a local courier boy after he refused to chant ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’.
The issue escalated when the protesting outstation students boycotted classes and were baton charged by the police on April 5 to prevent them from moving en-masse out of the institute.
Owing to the police action on outstation NIT students in Srinagar, many Kashmiri students were attacked by local students armed with knives and iron rods, in Jodhpur’s Vyas Dental College on April 7.