Article 35A: Rumours trigger clashes, spontaneous shutdown

Strike call given for Rajouri on Aug 30, police urges people to maintain calm  

Srinagar, Aug 27 : Several people were injured in action by government forces in Shopian district during the protest triggered by rumours about the scrapping of Article 35A bars non-natives from owning property in Jammu and Kashmir and grants special privileges to the residents of the state.

The rumours also led to clashes and spontaneous shutdown in other parts of the Valley including Srinagar, Pulwama and Anantnag district.

Reports said that nearly 15 people were injured in southern Shopian district after scores of youth pelted stones at government forces following rumours over the scrapping of Article 35-A by the Supreme Court.

The government forces responded by firing tear gas shells and pellets, resulting in injuries to 15 youth, most of whom were shifted to hospital and other treated locally, reports said. Those taken to the hospital, they said, sustained pellet injuries and three of them, with injuries in eyes, were shifted to SMHS hospital in Srinagar for specialized treatment.

Pulwama town also observed spontaneous shutdown with dozens of youth clashing with government forces soon after the rumours started to do rounds on the social media.

Clashes also erupted in Anantnag town of south Kashmir after the rumous as the youth took to streets and resorted to stone pelting at Lal Chowk, forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters.

The forces deployed in the town fired tear gas and fired few aerial shots to disperse the protesters. Some people also sustained minor injuries, reports said.

Srinagar’s commercial hub of Lal Chowk and other parts also witnesses spontaneous shutdown and clashes soon rumours flashed on the internet. Shops and commercial establishments were closed along with private offices.

Meanwhile, police requested people to stay calm as the main hearing on Article 35-A was listed for August 31.

In a related development, a shutdown has been called in the Rajouri district of Jammu on August 30 (Thursday) against attempts to scrap Article 35-A.

An all-party coordination committee meeting held in Talab Wali Masjid of Rajouri town announced support to the strike call issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).

Moulana Mohd Farooq Naimi headed the meeting which was attended by other Islamic clerics and leaders from different parties and social activists.

Addressing media after the meeting, Moulana Naimi said that a strike call for August 30 has been given for Rajouri district while on August 31 (Friday) protest rallies will be taken out from different mosques. “We will march up to Gujjar Mandi Chowk where a joint protest will be held,” he added. (GNS)

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