Wheel-jam, shutter-down strike observed in AJK’s Muzaffarabad against police crackdown

Published May 11, 2024
A vehicle with a broken window in Muzaffarabad on Friday. — Photo by author
A vehicle with a broken window in Muzaffarabad on Friday. — Photo by author
Police deployed in Muzaffarabad on Friday. — Photo by author
Police deployed in Muzaffarabad on Friday. — Photo by author

A crippling shutter-down and wheel-jam strike was observed in the state capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir on Friday on the call of a people’s action committee to protest against a police crackdown.

A Dawn.com correspondent reported that Muzaffarabad witnessed confrontations between police and some of the demonstrators in different neighbourhoods till late evening, involving stone pelting and fierce teargas shelling.

The strike call was given by the Jammu Kashmir Joint Awami Action Committee for Friday after several of its leaders and activists were arrested by police in overnight raids in different parts of Muzaffarabad and Mirpur division.

Last month, the committee had announced that people from across the state were supposed to stage a long march towards Muzaffarabad on Saturday (May 11).

The public action committee has been leading a rights movement to protest ‘unjust’ taxes levied on electricity bills and observed a shutter-down strike for the same reason in August last year.

The movement demands that electricity should be provided to consumers in accordance with the production cost of hydel power in AJK.

In December last year, it had reached an understanding with an official reconciliation committee, following which a notification was also issued by the government on February 4.

However, in April the committee had announced the long march on May 11 in protest against the “non-fulfillment of the written commitments” by the government.

Dawn.com’s correspondent reported that all businesses, including banks, remained closed, and traffic and vendors were off the roads in three districts of Muzaffarabad division.

In many parts of the state capital, clashes broke out between police and demonstrators, triggered by stone pelting by the latter. In retaliation, police resorted to teargas shelling, affecting people in homes and mosques as well.

Demonstrations were held in different parts of the city, where people vowed to carry on the struggle for their rights.

Shaukat Nawaz Mir, the top leader of the movement in Muzaffarabad who escaped arrest on Thursday, also addressed many gatherings in the town.

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