Parts of Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar observed a shutdown for the second consecutive Friday against the remarks of two BJP leaders, now sacked, which many Muslims across the world perceived as derogatory.
Shops and business establishments were closed in the Old City downtown and also in parts of uptown, including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas. Public and private transport was, however, plying on the roads.
It was a spontaneous shutdown as no organisation or individual had called for the strike.
“There is a complete shutdown in downtown. Even Lal Chowk is closed. People are again expressing their anger against the derogatory remarks made against our Prophet,” said Danish Ahmad, a resident of the old city.
Farhan Kitab, president of retailers’ association, said that there was no call from anybody for the strike.
“The markets closed automatically in the city centre as they did last Friday when Gulf countries had protested,” he said.
The Friday prayers were not held for the second consecutive Friday at Jamia Masjid, Srinagar. The authorities deployed a large number of security forces at sensitive places to prevent any law and order situation.
Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), an amalgam of various religious social and educational organisations of Kashmir, expressed strong resentment over the repeated closure of Jama Masjid, Srinagar, by the authorities.
“People, especially elders, women and youth from far and wide come to this historic mosque; and finding the masjid repeatedly locked down by authorities causes them a lot of grief,” the MMU said in a statement.
People held protests in Srinagar last Friday as well against the remarks made by now-suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and the party’s former Delhi unit media chief Naveen Jindal.