Srimagar Aug 06: Rajouri and Poonch districts on Monday observed a strike in protest against attempts being made to do away with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in the Constitution of India.
All Parties Coordination Committee had called for the strike, which protested against a bunch of petitions filed in the Supreme Court challenging Article 35A, which empowers J&K Assembly to define permanent residents of the state and endow them with special privileges. The apex court deferred the hearing to August 27.
While shops remained closed and traffic thin, demonstrations were held and roads were blocked at several places in the two districts.
In Rajouri district, markets remained closed in GujjarMandi, Kheora, DC Office road and Bela colony, Malik market and other places. Members of the All Parties Coordination Committee participated in a protest march in the town. In Darhal town, a complete bandh was observed and all the business establishments were kept closed. People also blocked main road leading to Rajouri from Darhal and staged protest against any attempt to scrap state’s special status.
In Thanamandi, a complete strike was observed in response to the call of religious scholars that was supported by local beoparmandal. A protest march was also held while the road from Thanamandi to Rajouri was blocked. A big demonstration was held in Manjakote, with the protesters blocking main chowk at Manjakote and stalling traffic on Jammu-Rajouri-Poonch highway.
In KotrankaKandi town, people held a protest march which culminated at the Bus Stand where protesters shouted slogans in favour of state’s special status and demanded that the Government of India should respect it. In Poonch district, business establishments remained closed in several areas and traffic was thin. A large number of people participated in a demonstration and said any attempt to play with state’s special status will have serious consequences. They said the Government of India should stop fiddling with Article 35A for political gains. In Mandi town of Poonch, a complete bandh was observed and hundreds of local residents participated in a protest march.
In Surankote, a huge number of people participated in a protest march that passed through the main market.
Those who spoke during the protest castigated BJP leadership for plunging the state into chaos. They said since BJP failed to provide good governance in the state and the country, the party was now diverting people’s attention from main issues.
In BufliyazChandimarh, people blocked the Mughal Road and held a protest for half an hour. In Mendhar, a big demonstration was held at the main bus stand in which a large number of people took part and shouted anti-BJP slogans. They said the central government was playing with fire and its attempts will put Jammu province to trouble as state’s special status is not confined to any religion or section of life.
STUDENTS SHOUT PRO-FREEDOM SLOGANS
Students of a government education institution shouted pro-freedom slogans during a protest over Article 35A.
The protest was held on Jammu-Poonch highway at BhataDhurian village of Mendhar. A video showing the students shouting pro-freedom slogans went viral. Mendhar sub-divisional magistrate DrTanveer Khan said the executive magistrate of the area has been directed to submit a report in this matter for further legal action.
“We are examining the video and action under law will be taken,” a police officer said.