SRINAGAR: A day before the Supreme Court hears petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A, which grants special privileges to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, the state remained tense. Normal life in the Valley and some other districts in Jammu on Sunday came to a grinding halt due to the bandh called by separatist leaders in support of the continuation of the law, which bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property and getting government jobs.
All shops, business establishments and petrol pumps remained closed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley. Trains were suspended and buses, three-wheelers and all public transport were off the roads and only a few private vehicles and security force vehicles could be seen plying on the deserted roads.
Even the shikara wallas participated in the strike and only a few ferried tourists in their boats on Dal Lake, while the ongoing Amarnath Yatra was also suspended.
The authorities had made tight security arrangements at all sensitive areas of the Valley by deploying police and paramilitary men in strength to tackle any untoward situation.
The strike was also observed in Ramban, Banihal, Doda, Kishtwar and Baderwah, areas of Jammu province.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik have called for a shutdown on Monday also, when the Supreme Court would hear pleas challenging the validity of Article 35-A. The authorities placed Geelani and Mirwaiz under house arrest while Yasin Malik has gone into hiding.
The strike called has been supporters by traders, lawyers, civil society members, etc.
The traders took out a rally from Regal Chowk to Hari Singh High Street in city centre and later staged a sit-in near Clock Tower, Lal Chowk.