Srinagar, May 5: A total strike in the Kashmir valley demanding stern action against those involved in the recently exposed sex racket, including politicians, senior police officers and businessmen, crippled life today.
The general strike call was given by several social, religious and business organisations as well as separatist groups to protest ''inaction by authorities'' against the people who are forcing innocent girls into flesh trade.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe after the police arrested four pimps, including a woman, involved in the racket.
Jammu and Kashmir High Court taking a suo moto notice of the racket has also decided to initiate proceedings in the incident.
Shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads.
Educational institutions wore a deserted look after the management declared a holiday in protest against the racket.
Financial institutions and banks were also closed and work in other government offices was badly affected as employees stayed away in response to the strike call.
A report from Anantnag said that the unprecedented strike was witnessed in south Kashmir for the first time after several years.
Streets wore a deserted look as all shops and business establishments were closed and people stayed indoor.
Security forces could be seen guarding the streets.
Similar reports were received from other major towns of the valley.
The sponsors of the strike alleged that authorities were trying to shield the people involved in the racket.
Meanwhile, the government has transferred the case to the CBI for a thorough probe into the scandal.
The state Police busted the racket and arrested three people in this connection a few days ago. Some top politicians, businessmen besides senior security force and police officials were allegedly involved in the flesh trade racket in which more than 40 girls were believed to have been used for making pornographic films.
Police action came after some local residents lodge a complaint with the Shaheedgunj police station in the old city alleging that some pimps were blackmailing teenage girls and forcing them to work in blue films.
They also presented two blue film CDs to the police in which two girls of the locality were filmed. It was only after the girls and their parents were questioned, police came to know about the major sex scandal.
The girls later identified 43 more girls who have been forced to enter into the flesh trade.
During the questioning police came to know that these girls were being supplied allegedly to politicians, senior police, security force officers and businessmen.
A case has been registered under section 67 Information Act, 07 PITA and 376 RPC.
Jammu and Kashmir High court taking a strong notice of the reports about the flesh trade today decided to initiate suo moto proceedings. Justice Bashir Ahmad Kirmani in his order said that for a couple of days, painful reports regarding inducement and blackmail of teen-aged girls to lure and coerce them into immoral physical submission have appeared in the press.
'What makes the reports alarming are allegations that some people highly placed in different spheres are directly involved therein Ex-facie the occurrences reported are so horrifying that even a fraction only thereof would be a complete horror in itself, the judge said.
Noting that cases registered in the matter weeks back are reportedly lying without any headway in the investigation, the judge directed registrar judicial to seek orders in the matter for its appropriate listing under rules preferably during current week.
Earlier, the Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) has threatened to move court for seeking directions to Jammu and Kashmir police for disclosing the names of persons involved in the sex racket
The KHBA has already urged the Director General of Police Gopal Sharma to disclose the names of the people involved in "sex racket" under the Right to Information Act.