Restrictions and shutdown in Srinagar
File picture of security personnel at Lal Chowk in Srinagar (representational image) | PTI Photo | S. Irfan
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Srinagar: Internet services were once again suspended in Kashmir Sunday amid a shutdown to commemorate the death anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

Guru was hanged in Delhi on 9 February 2013.

All shops and business establishments in the Valley remained shut on account of a strike call purportedly issued by the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) of Yasin Malik and the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Public transport services were disrupted as well, with only private vehicles plying on roads in the region.

The kilometre-long flea market at the city centre in Lal Chowk, which attracts a massive footfall every Sunday, stayed off roads too.

As people observed the shutdown, police and security forces increased vigil across the region, especially in and around Srinagar city. The administration also snapped internet services in view of the situation.

“These measures have been taken as precautions and we are monitoring the situation… internet services will be restored after a review of the situation,” a government official told ThePrint.

It was only last month that partial internet connectivity was restored in Kashmir after five months of a complete shutdown on account of law and order concerns in the wake of the central government’s decision to scrap Article 370.


Also read: J&K cops puzzled as scooter used by militants ‘disappears’ after their death in encounter


An annual affair

Shutdowns in Kashmir have become an annual affair on the death anniversary of Guru, who was a local resident.

This year, the call was purportedly first issued by the JKLF, which was banned by the Home Ministry in March last year, through emails sent to journalists. The same email has also called for a shutdown on 11 February, the death anniversary of its ideologue Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged in 1984.

Bhat was charged with multiple cases of waging war against the state, was involved in the killing of a bank employee in Kashmir, and also allegedly played a role in the 1971 hijacking of an Indian Airlines flight.

The commemoration of his death anniversary with a shutdown is an annual affair too.

A former militant outfit that later joined the mainstream, the JKLF has been booked for the shutdown call, its first since the Article 370 decision of August 2019. Two local journalists were also questioned for covering the JKLF.

Later, separatist group Hurriyat Conference also reportedly called for a general strike in the region on the two days, again through emails sent to journalists.

The commemoration of his death anniversary with a shutdown is an annual affair too.

The leaders of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF are both in detention — while Geelani has been in house detention since the scrapping of Article 370 last year, Malik is in Delhi’s Tihar jail for his role in an alleged terror-funding case.


Also read: Former J&K CMs under PSA: Modi govt taking shortcuts instead of hard political engagement?


 

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