A Kashmiri Muslim protester throws an exploded tear smoke shell back at Indian police and paramilitary troopers (unseen) during a protest in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 30, 2015. Kashmiri Muslim protesters clash with Indian police and paramilitary troopers after Friday prayers over the killing of Abu Qasim, a top militant commander heading Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)
A Kashmiri Muslim protester throws an exploded tear smoke shell back at Indian police and paramilitary troopers (unseen) during a protest in Srinagar, summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Oct. 30, 2015. Kashmiri Muslim protesters clash with Indian police and paramilitary troopers after Friday prayers over the killing of Abu Qasim, a top militant commander heading Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)

Indian-controlled Kashmir Sunday observed a shutdown to protest arrests of political activists and move of legally abrogating a law – Article 35 A of Indian constitution – that confers special status to the region.

The strike call was given by the region’s separatist groups under the leadership Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) condemning arrests and fearing tampering with Article 35 A would change the demography of the Muslim- majority region. The case is likely to come up for hearing in India’s Supreme Court on Monday. Article 35 A of Indian constitution confers special rights and privileges on permanent residents of Indian-controlled Kashmir and debars residents from other Indian states from buying land or property, getting a government job or voting in the local elections. Markets, business establishments remained closed. Public transport also remained off the roads.

Authorities fearing clashes imposed restrictions on the movement of people in areas falling under five police stations in old part of Srinagar. “The situation is under control and restrictions have been imposed to maintain law and order in the city,” a police official said. Government forces have detained dozens of political activists from Jamaat-i-Islami, along with its chief and arrested a senior separatist leader Mohammed Yasin Malik as part of its massive crackdown in the region. A guerilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989. Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

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