Srinagar: Life was affected here and in other parts of the Kashmir Valley due to a shutdown called by separatists against the government's proposal to set up composite townships for displaced Kashmiri Pandits.
In yet another surprise move, a strong group of Kashmiri Pandits too joined the protests, saying such colonies may benefit somebody’s politics but can never benefit Pandits.
Markets, public transport and other businesses remained closed in Srinagar and other district of the valley, though government offices, banks and post offices functioned normally.
Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in large number to maintain law and order situation in sensitive areas of Srinagar.
Separatists including those in the hardline camp headed by Syed Ali Geelani, moderate camp headed by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF headed by Yasin Malik have called for a shutdown on Saturday to protest against proposal to set up townships for Kashmiri Pandits.
More than two dozen people were injured here on Friday as security forces and JKLF supporters clashed after their leader Yasin Malik was detained during a protest march against moves to set up separate enclaves for pandits in the valley.
Malik said Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and people of all other faiths were a part and parcel of Kashmiri society and owners of this land just like the Muslims of the Valley.
"We are not opposing their return to Valley but we are opposing the conspiracies of erecting walls of hatred in the name of separate homeland colonies and Israeli type settlements", he said.
Meanwhile, a group of Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley Friday joined separatist JKLF-sponsored protest against the proposed setting up of an exclusive township for the migrant minority community.
Educationists Pandit Vishin Jee, Pandit Moti Lal Bhat, social worker Kumar Jee Wanchoo, businessman Moti Lal Dhar and several women of the community joined JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik in the protest at Maisuma here after Friday prayers.
The procession marched towards Lal Chowk chanting slogan ‘Sang Sang Jiyain Gay, Sang Sang Marain Gay’ (we will live together and die together), a JKLF spokesman said.
The Kashmiri Pandits told reporters there was no need and no use of making separate colonies.
"These colonies may benefit somebody’s politics but can never benefit Pandits", Pandit Vishin Jee said.
He said only the majority community can ensure safety and security of minorities and making separate homeland will create more wedges between communities.
"Pandits living in Muslim Mohallas face no threat which is evident by our presence here today", he added.