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Jammu rebuffs shutdown call

Jammu, July 3 (Calcutta Tube) A shutdown called by a Hindu group against alleged harassment of Amarnath pilgrims in the Kashmir Valley Saturday evoked no response in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region.

All shops and businesses were open and traffic plied normally in Jammu and other towns in defiance of the call by the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti.

The Samiti is an umbrella organisation of social, political and religious bodies.

However, some youths tried to force shopkeepers to down shutters in a few areas in Jammu, the state’s winter capital.

The shutdown call was rebuffed by many traders, transporters and students who said they were against creating further divisions between the Jammu region and the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came under criticism for backing the protest.

Anil Chopra, vice president of the All Jammu and Kashmir Passenger Transporters Association, told IANS: ‘People in Jammu have shown that they want peace, not disturbances.’

Girdhari Lal, a shopkeeper in the walled city of Jammu, said: ‘I think the Samiti will get the message that its tactics of playing on religious sentiments have no takers.’

He pointed to all the markets were open in the walled city, considered a BJP stronghold. ‘People are wise and will not fall prey to forces of disruption.’

Samiti leaders could not be reached for comments.

The annual Amarnath Yatra began July 1, with thousands trekking to the hill shrine of Lord Shiva in the Kashmir Valley. Separatist leaders in the valley have promised not to cause any disruption.

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