In occupied Kashmir, shutdown was observed in Srinagar and adjoining areas against the summoning of Hurriyat Leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq by India’s National Investigation Agency to New Delhi for questioning.
According to media reports, Call for the strike was given by the Srinagar-based Traders Coordination Committee, an amalgam of various trade bodies. All shops and business establishments remained closed while traffic was off the road in downtown Srinagar. The authorities imposed restrictions in parts of the Srinagar city in view of the strike. Restrictions under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure were imposed in five police station areas in the downtown area, also known as the old city. The Joint Hurriyat Leadership has termed the summoning of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Gilani’s son, Syed Naseem Gilani, by National Investigation Agency, to New Delhi in the name of questioning as sheer political vendetta. The Coordination Committee chairman Nazir Shah said the summoning Mirwaiz is a direct attack on religion, which is unacceptable to the trade community. He said the traders would hit the streets if the summon is not revoked. He said New Delhi is pushing the people of Kashmir into fire by making an onslaught on socio-religious organisations and religious leadership. Several prominent newspapers in Occupied Kashmir were published blank front pages to protest against the unexplained denial by the Indian authorities of advertisements to valley-based two leading newspapers Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader. The authorities stopped advertisements to the two major dailies a day after the February 14 Pulwama attack. Condemning the ban, the guild had said the media in Kashmir is one of the most professional and has retained its neutrality even at the cost of lives. In February, the Kashmir administration had suspended advertisement to the two newspapers without specifying a reason. Major English and Urdu newspapers in Kashmir published blank front pages to protest the suspension of advertisement to the dailies. The situation in Occupied Kashmir is very grave after Pulvama incident as Indian occupational forces and extremists elements of Indian terrorists organizations are constantly targeting innocent Kashmiris in Occupied Kashmir and also in all over India. The top Hurriyat leadership is also being targeted and it is facing detentions, arrests and worst atrocities. These oppressive measures cannot suppress ongoing indigenous freedom movement in Occupied Kashmir. The struggle of Kashmiris for right to self-determination will continue till its logical conclusion. India needs to reciprocate Pakistan’s peace gestures and move forward to initiate dialogue to resolve the lingering Kashmir Issue. International Community should stop its criminal negligence on Kashmir and play its due role to stop inhuman treatment of Kashmiris and to resolve this issue for durable peace in the region.