Kashmir shuts against civilian killings
Clashes, protests in Palhallan, Baramulla and elsewhere
Situation remained under control: Police
Nadeem Nadu/ Shah Basharat
Srinagar: A complete shutdown is being observed in Kashmir Valley Wednesday in the wake of killing of three civilians in an encounter in Chadoora area of Budgam district. A local militant from Kulgam district was also killed in the said encounter.
All shops, schools, petrol pumps and offices remain closed. The strike call also impacted the inter-state railway services as the authorities suspended the services for security reasons.
Meanwhile, University of Kashmir (KU), Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) and Central University of Kashmir (CUK) have postponed all the examinations scheduled for today in view of the general strike.
Authorities have also imposed curfew like restrictions in Old City of Srinagar.
The shutdown call was given by the joint resistance leadership including Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief, Muhammad Yasin Malik in their joint statement to media on Tuesday.
All the shops, business establishments, educational institutes, petrol pumps and other establishments remained closed while the vehicular movement remained thin on roads throughout the day.
Notably, the Authorities had suspended the train services across Kashmir valley in view of the shutdown call given by the resistance leadership.
“In view of shutdown call floated by separatist organizations which could lead to law and order situations in the valley tomorrow, March 29, the Baramulla-Banihal rail service may please be suspended tomorrow, March 29,” said an order, issued yesterday.
Reports said that a huge contingent of police and CRPF troopers were deployed on the roads in sensitive areas including Nowhatta, Khanyar and others aimed to thwart any possible protests against the Chadoora civilian killings.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in Yaripora village of Kulgam district participated in the funeral procession of a militant who was killed in an encounter on Tuesday at Chadoora. The impact of shutdown was felt in all the districts of Valley including Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Shopian, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam, Kupwara, Baramulla and Bandipora. Reports said that complete shutdown was observed in Chadoora, Nagam, Budgam, Beerwah, Aripanthan, Khag and Khansahab towns of the Budgam district while large number of people were seen thronging the houses of three victims.
Clashes between protesters were reported from many parts of Valley including Srinagar city. A youth who was identified as Abrar Ahmed Shah was injured after he was hit be pellets in the head at Rawalpora Srinagar. Reports said that scores of youth resorted to stone-pelting while Government Forces used tear-smoke shells and pellets to disperse them. The youth were protesting against the killing of civilians in Chadoora. Reports said that the wounded youth was shifted to SMHS hospital shortly after being hit by pelltes. Reports said that youth in Saderkoot Bala area blocked Bandipora-Srinagar road to protest the killings.
Clashes were also reported from Parimpora, Elahi Bagh and Karan Nagar areas of Srinagar city. In North Kashmir, clashes were reported from main chowk Sopore while in Yaripora Kulgam of South Kashmir, youth also clashed with the government forces. Reports said that clashes erupted between protesters and government forces in Yaripora after slain Hizb militant Tauseef Ahmad Wagay was laid to rest. Thousands of people had travelled to his ancestral Kanjkul village of Yaripora to attend the last rites. Witnesses said that clashes erupted near Police Station Yaripora. Eyewitnesses told CNS that funeral prayers for the slain militant were offered multiple times to accommodate thousands of people turning from various villages and towns in south Kashmir. Meanwhile, funeral prayers in absentia were held in Ajas village of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday for the militant and the three civilians shot dead by forces in Chadoora on Tuesday. Reports said that scores of people gathered in the lawns of central Jamia Masjid Ajas after Zuhr prayers to offer funeral prayers in absentia for the youth. Later, they held a peaceful protest rally in main chowk Ajas carrying placards denouncing civilian killings.
At Goriwan Bijbehara, Government Forces resorted to intense tear-gas shelling to disperse the protesting youth. The clashes between Forces and protesters continued for hours.
Reports said that clashes erupted in Palhallan and Old town areas of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. While the protesters hurled rocks, the forces responded by bursting teargas shells.
In view of the volatile situation in the Valley post the Chadoora killings, Railway services remained suspended throughout Kashmir on Wednesday, official sources said.
In the wake of the shutdown called by the pro-freedom leaders against the casualties and injuries during the protests that occurred on the sidelines of the Chadoora encounter, the railway services from Baramulla to Banihal have been suspended, read an official order.