Even as the Supreme Court adjourned hearing on pleas challenging Constitutional validity of Article 35A pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, life in the Valley remained severely affected for the second consecutive day on Monday due to a complete shutdown called by separatists against the legal challenge.
The two-day shutdown call had been given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.
Article 35A, which pre-dates Independence of India, confers special status on the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, Article 35A bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immoveable property in the state.
Educational institutions, shops and business establishments remained closed across the Valley on Monday, while very few private vehicles were seen moving on the streets.
The state government had filed an application before the registrar of the Supreme Court, informing that it was going to seek adjournment of the hearing in view of the “ongoing preparations” for the upcoming panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state.
Security forces have been deployed at vulnerable places across Kashmir for maintaining law and order. The situation remained peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere so far, said officials.
Authorities have placed Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest, while Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), evaded arrest by going underground.
Incidents of stone-pelting were reported from some places on Sunday, with six people getting injured in Kulgam in a clash between protesters and security forces. Various organisations, including the state bar association, transporters and traders’ bodies, have extended support to the shutdown call.
Protests have been held across Kashmir over the past few days, with mainstream parties like National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also holding rallies in support of continuing with Article 35A.
Authorities suspended the Amarnath Yatra from Jammu to Srinagar for the second day on Monday because of the shutdown.
An official, however, said pilgrims who had already reached the Baltal and Pahalgam base camps would continue to perform the Yatra.
Rail services between the Valley and Banihal town of Jammu region also remained suspended for the second day.
(With agency inputs)