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    Posted on 20 September 2012

    Bharat bandh: While Jammu comes alive with protests, Srinagar remains calm

    The nation-wide bandh called by the NDA had little impact on the daily lives of people in Srinagar. Instances of protest reported from Jammu

    Riyaz Wani

    The nation-wide bandh called by National Democratic Alliance had little impact in Kashmir Valley while the bandh saw a complete shutdown in the city of Jammu. The shops were open and traffic plied normally in Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley.

    Protests were held at several places in Jammu against the hike in the diesel prices, cap on LPG gas cylinders and the FDI in retail. Several hundred BJP workers, led by the party’s state president Shamsher Singh Manhas, marched through the city, raising anti-government slogans. The bandh was also observed at Udhampur, Kishtwar, Reasi, Kathua and Samba. There was partial impact in the districts of Doda, Ramban, Rajouri and Poonch.

    The Valley, on the other hand, witnessed little political outcry over the slew of reforms announced by the UPA government recently. Except for some business groups who have criticised Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s decision to support FDI in retail, no other party has made it a major issue. It was the CPM having a lone legislator in the state assembly, which organised a small protest near Pratap Park in the city. It was led by the MLA Yusuf Tarigami.

    For separatists, price hikes and economic reforms are non-issues. For them, talking about the issues detracts from them from their single-minded pursuit of Kashmir’s liberation.

    On Tuesday, Kashmir observed a complete shutdown against the anti-Islam movie Innocence of Muslims. There were protests all across the Valley and the clashes between youth and police resulted in injuries to several protesters. The government also fears that there might be fresh protests against the movie on Friday. Authorities have announced the closure of all schools as a precautionary measure.

    Riyaz Wani is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.
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    Posted on 20 September 2012



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