JAMMU: The Jammu region today witnessed a complete shutdown, led by at least 13 political parties and other organisations, over the terrorist attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag last night.
The Congress, National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, and NCP staged protests at several places and demanded the resignation of the Mehbooba Mufti government.
The protesters burnt tyres, effigies, Pakistani flags and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway at several places in Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua and Samba districts.
All shops and market places were closed and vehicles remained off the roads in Jammu city, Udhampur, Samba, Vijaypur, Kathua, Reasi, Katra and Kishtwar. Authorities ordered closure of schools and educational institutions for two days, an official said.
Internet services in the region have been suspended as a precautionary measure following the killing of Amarnath pilgrims in the terrorist attack in Anantnag district last night, the SSP control room said. "A peaceful shutdown was observed but there were protests.
There were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere," a police officer said. Congress activists took out a march through the main bazaar of Old City, raising slogans against Pakistan and the PDP-BJP government in the state. The protesters alleged the governments in the state and at the Centre failed to contain militancy and ensure incident- free pilgrimage, and demanded that the Mufti dispensation resign.
They burnt effigies of Pakistan at city chowk, saying the neighbouring country "is the mother of terrorism". Addressing the protesters, senior vice president of J&K Congress Sham Lal Sharma said inspite of serious threats and inputs from various intelligence agencies about a possible attack on the yatra, the state and the Centre failed to protect the pilgrims.
"The state government is trying to dodged responsibilities by claiming that the bus was not part of the yatra caravan. It is very unfortunate. The government should immediately step down," he said. Hundreds of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party activists, led by chairman Harsh Dev Singh, staged a protest against the dastardly attack at Dogra Chowk. They shouted anti-BJP slogans and demanded that the state government be dismissed. Singh said there were no signs of government on the ground in the state and the coward act of the militants had exposed the communal character of the secessionist forces operating in Kashmir. Several organisations of Kashmiri Pandits led by All Party Migrant coordination Committee (APMCC) staged a demonstration at Tawi brige and blocked the highway for half- an-hour in protest against the killing of pilgrims.
They burnt Pakistani flags and raised anti-Pakistan and anti-government slogans. "We condemn the attack. We demand that the government probe the security lapse and sack those responsible," APMCC Chairman Vinood Pandita said. National Conference activists led by provincial president Devender Singh Rana took out a protest rally on residency road demanding the imposition of Governor's rule in the state.