Kashmir seethes, shuts to mourn Shopian killings

Kashmir Valley Sunday observed complete shutdown in response to call by the separatists to protest the killing of two Shopian youth in an army firing.

Authorities imposed restrictions in downtown area of Srinagar to prevent protests. In view of apprehension of protests, the district administration Srinagar had imposed restrictions in areas falling under the jurisdiction of seven police stations. An official said that restrictions were imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.

The area where strict restrictions were imposed include Rainawari, Nowhatta, Khanyar, M.R.Gunj and Safakadal while partial restrictions were imposed in the areas falling under two police stations including Kralkhud and Maisuma.

Witnesses said that heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in areas where restrictions were imposed. They said that in some parts of Srinagar like Rainawar and Khanyar tough restrictions were imposed as coils of concertina wires and barricades were placed on roads to bar the public movement.

Local sources said that in the evening, at the time of withdrawal of forces youth came out on streets in Kawdara, Navakadal and other areas and resorted to stone pelting on forces. They said forces fired tear smoke shells in retaliation, however, none was injured. Later the youth dispersed.

Meanwhile, mobile internet remained suspended for the second day in districts of south Kashmir while in other districts the mobile internet speed was curtailed. A complete shutdown was observed in Srinagar and other district headquarters of Valley.
In south Kashmir deployment of forces was made in major spots in Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag and Kulgam. Shops and business establishments remained completely shut while public transport remained off the roads. However a thin movement of private transport was visible on roads.
On Saturday two youth—Javid Ahmad Bhat son of Abdul Rashid Bhat of Balapora, Shopian and Suhail Javid son of Javid Ahmad Lone of Ganowpora were killed and another Rayees Ahmad Ganie son of Ghulam Rasool Ganie of Brathipora was critically injured in Army firing on protestors during clashes in Ganowpora village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Local witnesses said that Army opened fire at the people when they resisted move to remove the banners of recently killed Hizbul Mujahideen militants.
Army, however, claimed that its convoy had come under unprovoked and intense stone pelting by a group of 100-120 youth that had further swelled to 200-250 injuring a JCO. It further said that the youth tried to snatch his weapon and damaged vehicles.
“Considering the extreme gravity of the situation, Army was constrained to open fire in self-defence to prevent lynching of the JCO and burning of government vehicle by the mob,” army spokesperson said on Saturday.
Following the incident government also ordered a separate magisterial inquiry. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for a complete shutdown to protest the killings.

javid@risingkashmir.com