Separatist groups called for a shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday and Monday against the petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A of the Constitution. The Article grants special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state.

Chairpersons of Hurriyat Conference factions Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and chairperson of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Yasin Malik called for the shutdown under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership. Geelani and Farooq were placed under house arrest while Yasin Malik was arrested on Sunday even as the shutdown continued. Geelani-led Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s chairperson Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai was also put under house arrest, while four activists of the Hurriyat faction were arrested in Humhama area.

In Srinagar, all shops, business establishments, financial institutions and petrol pumps were closed on Sunday, Kashmir Reader reported. A posse of Central Reserve Police Force and policemen were deployed to foil attempts to stage protests.

The ongoing annual Amarnath Yatra has been suspended on Sunday and Monday in view of the shutdown. Pilgrims were not allowed to proceed towards Kashmir Valley from the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu.

Pilgrims camped at Baltal and Pahalgam base camps will continue to perform the yatra, officials said. Special check posts have been set up in Udhampur and Ramban to ensure that pilgrims do not use the Jammu-Srinagar highway, reported the Hindustan Times.

A senior railway official told Kashmir Reader that train services were suspended across the Valley amid fears of protests in south Kashmir where six people, including five militants, were killed in a gunfight on Saturday. All trains running on Budgam-Srinagar-Islamabad-Qazigund in South Kashmir and Banihal in Jammu region will be suspended. Trains from Srinagar to Budgam and Baramulla in North Kashmir will also not run.

Four petitions have challenged Article 35A’s legality on the grounds that it was never presented before Parliament and was implemented on the President’s orders in 1954. The matter is listed for hearing on Monday before Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday approached the Supreme Court, urging it to adjourn the hearing citing a possible law and order situation. The National Conference filed an intervention plea in the top court on Friday, requesting that it be included as a respondent in the case while state unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has also moved the court in support of the law.

The National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday held separate rallies in the state. A traders’ organisation also conducted a rally on Saturday.