Aaj English TV

Friday, July 19, 2024  
12 Muharram 1446  

AJK protests continue for second day, leading to food shortage, troubles for tourists

Shutter-down, wheel-jam strike continue in region over Joint Public Action Committee’s call
Public transport has been suspended and educational institutions, shops, and business centres have been closed since Friday. Screengrab via Aaj News
Public transport has been suspended and educational institutions, shops, and business centres have been closed since Friday. Screengrab via Aaj News

The shutter-down and wheel-jam strikes continued for the second day in all 10 districts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, leading to a shortage of food in the region and severe hardships for tourists.

In Kotli, a clash between the police and protesters resulted in the tragic loss of a sub-inspector’s life and left 12 officers injured. Similar clashes, clashes, baton charges, and tear gas usage between the police and protesters in the Poonch and Muzaffarabad divisions of Azad Kashmir further intensified the situation, turning Muzaffarabad into a battleground.

As a result of the escalated situation, public transportation, shops, markets, and business centers remained closed, affecting both local residents and tourists. Additionally, in an attempt to halt the Long March organized by the Joint Action Committee towards Islamabad, the authorities have set up barriers on the roads leading to Muzaffarabad.

On the other hand, an incident of collision occurred between the police and demonstrators of the Joint Action Committee in Kotli and Islamgarh, resulting in the unfortunate death of ASI Adnan Farooq, while 12 officers sustained injuries.

According to AJ Police, Sub-Inspector Adnan Farooq lost his life due to firing from the direction of the procession while performing his duty to protect the lives and property of the public in Islamgarh.

According to the received information, the Sub-Inspector became the target of firing when a procession headed towards Muzaffarabad from Islamgarh, and attempts were made to stop it. The police resorted to tear gas and baton charging.

The police reported that as a result of firing from the procession, the Sub-Inspector suffered severe injuries and was brought to the divisional headquarters, where he succumbed to his injuries.

In an attempt to evade arrest, a young man near Neelum Bridge jumped into the Neelum River, while 40 people were injured in a collision with the police. Police operations are underway for the arrests of young individuals distributed in groups in the streets and squares of Muzaffarabad city.

In various areas of Muzaffarabad city, including Tang Stand, Neelum Bridge, and Bila Noor Shah, violent clashes erupted between the police and protesters, further exacerbating the situation instead of restoring peace. The police set up checkpoints on various roads of the city and arrested dozens of young individuals.

Public transport has been suspended and educational institutions, shops, and business centres have been closed since Friday after the Joint Public Action Committee called for the strike. The group, which comprises farmers, businessmen, locals, and vendors, is demanding wheat subsidy and tax-free electricity from the Mangla dam.

Strike until fulfillment of demands

In a statement on Saturday, the committee announced that the strike would continue until the fulfilment of the charter of demands.

As a result of the strike, normal life has come to a standstill in all districts, including the capital Muzaffarabad.

The protest has resulted in road blockades, complete suspension of public and inter-city transport, a significant decline in tourist arrivals, and inconvenience for those returning as they face road closures. Some protesters are guiding returning tourists through alternative routes while others are providing information about the situation.

In this situation, both local residents and tourists are facing extreme difficulties in acquiring basic commodities. Those who have supplies are managing with what they have, as they are unable to find anything elsewhere.

The police have not issued any traffic plans or instructions for tourists. Instead, reports say they have been arresting the representatives of the committee and protesters.

The situation in the region also remained tense on Friday. Clashes were reported between the police and protesters in various areas of Muzaffarabad, with protesters pelting stones at the police, who responded with tear gas shells.

The district administration has imposed a ban on the gathering of more than five people in Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Kotli, Bhambir, Poonch, Haveli, Sidhonti, Neelum, and Jhelum Valley under Section 144 of CrPC for 10 days.

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azad jammu and kashmir