Normal business activities were affected in Kashmir on Saturday due to the shutdown call given by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) against the killing of civilians by forces—marking it the first shutdown of this year.
Restrictions remained in enforce in the Old City areas of Srinagar while deployment of forces was also made in other parts of Kashmir.
In Srinagar, authorities imposed restrictions as a precautionary measure in Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R.Gunj and Safakadal in downtown and Maisuma and Kralkhud in uptown city areas to maintain law and order.
Witnesses said that heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in downtown besides coils of concertina wires and barricades were placed on major roads to prevent public movement. They said that early morning forcers made an announcement informing locals about the restrictions. “A very thin movement of people was allowed by forces while traffic also failed to hit roads in downtown,” said a local resident. However at Nawakadal area of downtown youth defied restrictions and hit streets late afternoon at around 4pm, an hour before forces withdrew from the area.
Witnesses said youth came out on roads and resorted to stone pelting on forces. The forces in retaliation fired tear smoke shells to disperse the youth. “The clashes—youth throwing bricks and stones on forces— continued for nearly an hour. However, none was injured,” witnesses said.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in Srinagar, Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam, Baramulla, Sopore and others towns of Valley. Shops and business establishments remained closed while a thin movement of private transport was seen on roads across Valley. Reports from Anantnag said that a contingent of forces was also deployed at main town Lal Chowk, Mutton Chowk, Dangerpora and Reshgi Bazar area of town to prevent law and order disturbance. Similarly, in Pulwama police and CRPF was deployed at Murran Chowk, Rajpora Chowk and Main Chowk area of town to prevent stone pelting.
In Kulgam, army late afternoon resorted to aerial firing when their convoy was pelted with stones by the youth at Wanpoh area of the district.
“A group of youth appeared on the highway at Wanpoh and hurled stones on the Army convoy. In order to disperse the youth Army men who were part of the convoy fired few shots in the air,” said a police official continuing that Police and paramilitary CRPF was deployed in the area to maintain law and order situation. Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was under house arrest while Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house detention at his Nageen residence on Friday and Yasin Malik was detained from his Maisuma residence early morning. A police spokesman said that they also detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) zonal organizer, Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri, from Maisuma area.
On January 9 Khalid Ahmed Dar, 22, from Ghat village of Khudwani, Kulgam became the first civilian to get killed in army firing on protestors this year. Last year nearly 43 civilians lost their lives to bullets and the victims included women.
On December 11, a married woman, Mysara Bano was killed after she was hit by a bullet while she tried to escape from her house during an encounter at Yunsoo village in Hanwdwara. On the night of December 17 Asif Iqbal Bhat, 24, son of Mohammad Iqbal resident of Thandipora, Kupwara was killed by army during an ambush. Two days after Asif’s killing, a 24-year-old lady was killed when she was hit by a bullet in her abdomen near the site of the gunfight at Batmurran village in Shopian district of south Kashmir.