Strike in Valley, day after Amit Shah’s normalcy remark
Amit Shah said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that orders prohibiting public assemblies had been withdrawn, all schools were open, and hospitals and health centres were functional in the Kashmir valley.Updated: Nov 22, 2019 00:06 IST
A day after Union home minister Amit Shah told the Rajya Sabha that normalcy prevailed in Jammu and Kashmir, which the Centre divested of its special status and bifurcated into two Union territories on August 5, shops and businesses in Srinagar closed again on Thursday in a protest shutdown.
Private vehicles and public transport services, which resumed three days ago, plied on the roads of the city, but stores in prominent markets and the business nerve centre, Lal Chowk, didn’t open, residents said.
“Yesterday, Union home minister said Kashmir is normal; today’s shutdown is an answer to his statement,’’ said a shopkeeper at Lal Chowk. “The business community had been observing a shutdown since August 5 as they are hurt by the decision to remove J&K’s special status.’’
ALSO WATCH | ‘Normalcy has been restored in J&K’: Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha
Shah said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that orders prohibiting public assemblies had been withdrawn, all schools were open, and hospitals and health centres were functional in the Kashmir valley. Landlines and mobile phone connections are operational, he said, adding that internet services would be restored when “the local authority deems fit.” He said Urdu and English newspapers and television channels were functioning, and banks, government offices and courts were open.
Following the easing of curbs on public movement and communication facilities imposed on August 5, a spontaneous shutdown had continued across Kashmir in a sign of local resentment against the Centre’s move.
On Thursday, the president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Sheikh Ashiq, said the business community had lost more than Rs 10,000 crore. “The restrictions which were started by government were lifted after two-and-a-half months. Nobody is against fresh investment or development. The government, which is always for the welfare of people, should on its own take measures to compensate for the losses to businessmen,’’ Ashiq told HT.
Meanwhile, security forces detected and defused a powerful Improvised Explosive Device on the Srinagar – Jammu national highway in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district, officials said. The IED was spotted by guards near Ganjipora in Kulgam, following which a bomb disposal squad was called and traffic stopped on the national highway. After the IED was defused, traffic resumed.
“Bomb disposal teams of army and security forces... and police reached and on searches, two tin boxes with wires were found...it looked like an IED and was destroyed,” police said.
After several attacks on security personnel, the national highway is being guarded by the army, police and the CRPF and during the movement of security force convoys, vehicular traffic is being halted.