Shimla: Normal life was hit in this Himachal Pradesh capital Saturday as private business establishments adhered to the shutdown call by various Hindu organisations and remained closed till 2 p.m. to protest the slaughter of a cow near here.
The shutdown call from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. was complete and passed off peacefully, barring a few skirmishes.
Eyewitnesses said activists of the Bajrang Dal and other organisations staged demonstrations and forced the shopkeepers to close their shops. Even leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including local legislator Suresh Bhardwaj, participated in the protest.
The cow was slaughtered by members of a minority community at Pujali village in Chopal tehsil of Shimla district Thursday. Police subsequently arrested six people on charges of killing the cow.
However, violent protests erupted Friday in villages near Pujali over the slaughter. A mosque and a few shops were attacked at Nerwa, some 120 km from here.
In the violence-hit villages, too, shops remained closed Saturday.
Superintendent of Police R.M. Sharma told IANS that the shutdown call passed off peacefully in Shimla and other areas.
“No incidence of violence has been reported from anywhere so far,” he said.
This was the first communal riot in Himachal Pradesh since the state was formed in 1971.