Members of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) are planning a nationwide strike, or bandh, on Monday, February 18, to protest the terrorist attack in Pulwama district (Jammu & Kashmir). The strike reportedly will involve traders and shopkeepers from 18 states, including Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. Commercial markets are expected to remain closed for the day and all wholesale and retail markets in Delhi will likely participate. Public transportation is expected to run as normal. Associated public demonstrations in cities are possible.
Suicide bombers detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in Pulwama district (Jammu & Kashmir) on February 14, killing at least 40 Indian paramilitary officers. The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack and India has accused Pakistan of supporting the attackers. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in India since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. Some 70,000 people have died and many more have been injured in related violence, uprisings, and military crackdowns. Recently, the Indian government has conducted several security operations in the region amid rising tensions and sporadic violence.
Individuals in India are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate significant business disruptions as well as transportation disruptions and a heightened security presence in the vicinity of any public gatherings, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, and refrain from discussing sensitive political topics in public or on social media.
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