Normal life was disturbed in the Kashmir Valley on Monday following a separatist shutdown call against the recent judgment wherein Muslim League chief Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, alias Dr Qasim, will face jail imprisonment for all his life in a murder case.
Shops, schools, colleges, most district government offices, banks and petrol pumps remained closed for the day. Public transport was thin on roads, even the rush of private traffic was affected because of the shutdown. The bandh, however, had no impact on higher secondary and university level exams.
The shutdown call was issued by hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik. Militant groups' conglomerate United Jehad Council, based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, had supported the protest call. Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq too had described the judgment as "politically motivated".
On Friday, the Srinagar high court pronounced a judgment in the case of Facktoo, who is convicted in killing a Pandit human rights activist H.N. Wanchoo in 1992, interpreting life imprisonment as "jail for life".
The judge was hearing a plea of Faktoo's lawyer seeking his early release on the grounds that the separatist leader has already served 20 years of jail and deserves remission as per state law because of his good conduct inside the jail. However, the judge rejected the plea while citing judgments made by the Supreme Court wherein life imprisonment was described as "jail for whole life".
A doctorate in Islamic studies, Faktoo's Muslim League is a constituent of Geelani-led Hurriyat. Faktoo is also husband of hardline all-women group Dukhtaran-e-Millat Asiya Andrabi.