For the twelfth day Monday, complete shutdown was observed by people in Pulwama district against the administration and police’s opposition to erecting a memorial for the militants killed in encounters in the district during the last year. The locals are adamant to erect an insignia for the slain militants at Shaheed Park in Rajpora Chowk, the central location of the town, while the administration also is firm not to allow the plaque installation. All the shops, business establishments, private offices, banks, and coaching centres remained completely shut in the town, while private as well as the passenger transport stayed off the roads. The normal life and business, education is the whole district is paralysed from the last two weeks. Apprehending trouble, huge number of security forces were deployed in the town to thwart the locals’ move of installing the insignia, which they had planned to install today. In a show of solidarity with the people of the town, all the other mini-towns remained shut, with traders closing their shops nad other business. The tension gripped the township a fortnight ago following a shutdown in the town against the killing a local LeT militant, Omais Ahmad Sheikh in Bandipora district. Police sources said that toil today around 35 youth were rounded up in the town for instigating protests and stone pelting in the town. Meanwhile, the district for has issued orders under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 for all shops selling goods like medicines, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, petroleum products and other eatables etc, to keep their shops open. “Whosoever does not comply with the order, his shop licence will be cancelled and his goods will be confiscated in the presence of Megistrate,” the order said. However, the traders are unrelenting. “The administration cannot threaten us and force us to open our shops. We would intensify protests if our licenses are cancelled for seeking installation of a plaque which would have Quranic versus on it,” a trader told KNS. But he wanted not to be identified. The administration and the police are holding marathon meeting as to how the situation can be brought to normal and how the people can be persuaded to resume business. An official in the district commissioner’s office said that they are in a fix as both the administration and the agitating locals are unrelenting in their firm stands. The people and the officials are criticising the local legislator for his ‘silence’ in the whole issue.
2015 Kashmir Despatch