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Shutdown in IOK after Indian investigation agency summons Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Updated March 10, 2019

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A shutdown is being observed in Srinagar and the adjoining areas of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) on Sunday to protest India’s National Investigation Agency's (NIA) move to summon All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to New Delhi for questioning. — Photo courtesy Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Twitter
A shutdown is being observed in Srinagar and the adjoining areas of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) on Sunday to protest India’s National Investigation Agency's (NIA) move to summon All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to New Delhi for questioning. — Photo courtesy Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Twitter

A shutdown is being observed in Srinagar and the adjoining areas of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IOK) on Sunday to protest India’s National Investigation Agency's (NIA) move to summon All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to New Delhi for questioning, Kashmir Media Service reported.

As per KMS, shops and businesses have been closed.

On Saturday, Indian media reported that Farooq as well Naseem Geelani — son of the chairman of another faction of the APHC, Syed Ali Shah Geelani — have been issued summons by the NIA.

India Today reported that Naseem Geelani had previously been summoned twice; however, this was the first time that Farooq was summoned.

"India Today TV has learnt Mirwaiz [Umar Farooq] has been asked to present himself before the investigators at NIA's New Delhi head office on Monday [March 11]," India Today added.

According to NDTV, the two had been summoned for questioning in an ongoing investigation into a terror funding case.

The strike call for today was given by the Srinagar-based Traders Coordination Committee described as an "amalgam of various trade bodies and was supported by Beopar Mandal Mahrajgunj and Jamia Market, Srinagar".

The committee's chairman Nazir Shah said summoning Farooq was a "direct attack on religion, which is unacceptable to the trade community". According to KMS, he said traders would hit the streets if the summon was not revoked.

"The Mirwaiz family has been at the forefront of religious activities and any attack on him is an attack on Kashmiris," Shah was quoted as saying. New Delhi was "pushing the people of Kashmir into fire by making an onslaught on socio-religious organisations and religious leadership", he said.

In a post shared on Twitter, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said Farooq wasn't "any ordinary leader" and added that he was the "religious and spiritual head" to Kashmiri Muslims.

"NIA summons to him are emblematic of GOIs [Government of India] repeated assaults on our religious identity. J&K [Jammu and Kashmir] is the proverbial sacrificial lamb exploited to divert attention from real issues," she added.

Blank front pages printed by IOK newspapers

Separately, several prominent newspapers in IOK published blank front pages in protest of the "unexplained denial by Indian authorities of advertisements" to the Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Reader, KMS reported.

According to KMS, authorities had stopped advertisements to the two daily newspapers a day after the February 14 attack in occupied Kashmir's Pulwama area, which killed more than 40 Indian paramilitary soldiers.

The Kashmir Editors Guild earlier sought the attention of the Press Council of India and the Editors Guild to "exercise their legal, ethical and professional mandate to intervene in the issue and ensure that the media was not strangulated", KMS reported.

They condemned the ban and said that the "media in Kashmir is one of the most professional and has retained its neutrality even at the cost of lives".

"It will continue to do so," they added, noting that the "attempts at strangulating the media" were a continuation of what had taken place in the past.

Mehbooba Mufti shared an image of a blank front page of the Greater Kashmir.

"Centre’s decision to stop ads to it should be viewed in context of their attitude towards press and electronic media in general. Kowtow to their warped agenda and sing praises. Or else suffer," she added.