Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir valley observed shutdown on Saturday in response to the call given by traders’ associations as a mark protest against burning of flag bearing the declaration of Islamic faith in Rajouri district.
Shops and other business establishments remained closed. Attendance in government offices was thin due to the non-availability of public transport which went off the roads in response to the call jointly given by various trade bodies including Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) and Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK).
The strike was also supported by a faction of Hurriyat Conference-led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and High Court Bar Association (HCBA).
An indefinite curfew was imposed in Rajouri district on July 21 after violent clashes broke out as local Muslims protested against burning of IS flag, which happens to bear religious scripture, by rightwing VHP activists.
KCCI also had appealed transport operators to also support the bandh call and make it a success.
President of KTMF, Mohammad Yasin Khan said: “This strike was a lesson for those who disrespect our religion and hurt our religious sentiments. We also wanted to send across a message that Jammu Muslims who are in minority in the region are not alone.”
“Business loss is not a big deal when it comes to disrespect of religion. We won’t tolerate anything against our religion and we will sacrifice our lives for it,” he added.
Khan said the strike call was fully supported by all the KTMF stakeholders.
The Bar Association had asked the lawyers to abstain from work in response to the strike call and also decided to constitute a team of its members to visit Rajouri and other places of Jammu province to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, a police spokesman said the situation in the valley remained normal although the normal life was disrupted due to the strike.
Kashmir Hotel & Restaurant Association (KHARA), Travel Agents Society of Kashmir (TASK), Kashmir Handicraft Manufactures & Exporters Association, J&K Private Diagnostic Centers Association, Joint Committee of Private Schools among others also supported the strike call.