Kashmir shuts over Shopian killings, shifting of prisoners

Normal life was disrupted on Wednesday as the authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Kashmir to foil protests over civilian killings in Shopian and shifting of prisoners from Srinagar Central jail to Jammu jails.
In view of apprehension of protests authorities imposed restrictions in downtown areas of Srinagar city and Shopian district in south Kashmir.

Officials said in order to maintain law and order, restriction “as a precautionary measure” under section 144 CrPc were imposed in areas including Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Safakadal, M R Gunj and Maisuma and Kralkhud to prevent protests in view of call for shutdown given by seperatists.

Witnesses said heavy contingents of forces were deployed at many places where authorities apprehended demonstrations and rallies. They said coils of concertina wires and barricades were placed at major places to restrict public movement. Restrictions were also imposed in Shopian district of south Kashmir.

A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir over the killing of four civilians and two militants at Pahnoo in Shopian and shifting of prisoners from Srinagar Central jail to the prisons in Jammu. All shops and business establishments remained shut while public transport was also off the roads. However, private cars were seen plying on some roads in Srinagar.

Reports of shutdown were also received from other district headquarters of Valley. Due to the apprehension of protests, authorities also suspended train services from Banihal to Baramulla.
On Sunday evening two militants, army claimed, were killed when they fired from two vehicles after they failed to stop at a mobile vehicle check post (MVCP) at Pahnoo. Three other individuals, according to army, who were travelling in a vehicle were also killed in retaliatory firing.

Another civilian, Gowhar Ahmad Lone of Chitragam Shopian, was found dead in his car near Pinjoora, some 200 meters away from the site of the incident. The incident triggered massive outrage in Kashmir including by the political parties.

Army branded the slain civilians as over ground workers (OGWs). However the claim was contested by local residents who said that civilians had no militant links. Police has registered a case and started investigation in the incident.
Earlier the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for Shopian Chalo to express solidarity with the families of slain militants and civilians. The shutdown call was also given by the JRL to protest against the shifting of prisoners from Srinagar central Jail to Jammu jails. Some 42 high-risk prisoners (militant and separatists) including Qasim Fakhtoo and Muhammad Shafi Shaereti were shifted to jails outside Valley by the prisons department recently. This followed after the dramatic escape of top Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba militant, Naveed Jhatt from captivity at SMHS hospital in Srinagar on January 6.