Srinagar: The strike called by separatist groups against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Jammu and Kashmir today evoked a partial response in the Valley.
Although most shops in and around the city centre of Lal Chowk—the commercial hub of the summer capital here—were closed, establishments had opened for business in other districts of Kashmir, officials said.
Markets in Lal Chowk are yet to start functioning normally after the devastation wrought by the floods last month in the state with only a few shopkeepers having resumed business there.
Officials said that while public transport was sparse, private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws plied normally. Educational institutions, government offices and banks are closed on account of the holiday for Diwali. The prime minister is scheduled to visit the Valley today to celebrate the festival of lights with the flood-affected people.
“Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23d October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate floods,” Modi had tweeted on Tuesday. This will be Modi's fourth visit to the state afer he took over as prime minister in May this year.
The two factions of Hurriyat Conference had called for a general strike and peaceful protests against the visit of the prime minister to the Valley.
“Government of India acted as a mute spectator amidst the worst-ever floods in Kashmir and did nothing to mitigate the sufferings of the affected (people)... We will not allow anyone to rub salt into our wounds,” the hardline faction of Hurriyat, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said in a statement.
It said that when Modi had not felicitated Muslims on Eid, his celebrating Diwali in the Muslim-majority state was “unacceptable”.
The Shabir Ahmad Shah-led Hurriyat faction, too, had called for a general strike and asked people to hold peaceful demonstrations against the prime minister's visit.