Closed markets and empty roads greeted Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who came to Jammu to address a rally as part of the ongoing ‘Jan Kalyan Parv’, as the city is observing a day-long bandh to protest against the shifting of proposed AIIMS from Jammu to Kashmir.

AIIMS Coordination Committee, an amalgam of more than 70 social, religious, political and business organisations had called for a day-long bandh on Wednesday coinciding with the visit of Singh here.

Carrying banners and raising slogans against Singh, members of the Committee held protests at several places in the city. The Bar Association, Jammu, and activists of JKNPP held dharnas at Dogra Chowk here.

"We want to send a message to the Union government that any injustice with the people of Jammu or the Jammu region cannot be tolerated, be it the issue of the shifting of AIIMS from Jammu to Kashmir or the shelving of the artificial lake project, people in Jammu will protest the injustice," Abhinav Sharma, president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Jammu, said.

"BJP which once championed itself as the solid voice of the people of Jammu has sold its ideology and stand to the PDP, just for the sake of sharing power with the Kashmir based party, it has traded the sentiments of the people of Jammu for the sake of power," Harsh Dev Singh, Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, said.

Markets across Jammu and adjoining districts remained closed with public transport remaining off the roads, though some private vehicles were seen.

Attendance at offices remained minimal while several schools and colleges across the region had declared a holiday and postponed examinations that were scheduled for Wednesday.

The AIIMS coordination committee has threatened to intensify the agitation if the government does not sanction AIIMS for Jammu.

To end the controversy, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi had on Tuesday proposed setting up of AIIMS at a place central to the three regions of the state.

The shifting of AIIMS from Jammu to Kashmir has snowballed into a major controversy in Jammu region as the people in the region are already up in arms against the state and the central government for following an appeasemnet policy for Kashmir region.