Shopian killings trigger curbs, strike, protests in Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: In view of prevailing situation in Kashmir, the authorities today banned enmass gathering of the people, including Srinagar, to maintain law and order amid separatists’ strike and protest call against the killings of 13 militants and four civilians in Shopian operations yesterday.

The restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPc have been imposed in parts of Srinagar in central Kashmir – and in Shopian and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir, the officials said adding the internet service too has been suspended in the Valley.

They said the curbs have been enforced in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Safakadal, Maharajgunj, Maisuma, Kralkhud and Soura areas of the city.

The officials said the prohibitory orders have been imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.

The separatists have called for a two-day strike yesterday in Kashmir over the killings of 13 militants and four civilians in three separate encounters in the Valley yesterday.

The separatists, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Mailk under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) also asked the people to suspend business and other activities and offer funeral prayers in absentia across the valley.

The strike disrupted the normal life elsewhere in the Valley with most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments remaining shut and public transport staying off road, the officials said.

They said Geelani and Mirwaiz have been put under house arrest.

However authorities put Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Chairman Muhammad Ashraf Sherai under house arrest in view of the killings of civilians.

Hurriyat Conference (G) chief spokesperson G A Gulzar has also been lodged at Shergadi Police station. Meanwhile, Hurriyat leaders Imtiyaz Haider and Muhammad Ashraf Laaya have also been detained.

The authorities, meanwhile, have ordered closure of all schools and colleges across Kashmir today. Kashmir University, Central University Kashmir and Islamic University of Science and Technology have also suspended classes and postponed examinations scheduled for today, the officials said.

Mobile internet services remained suspended in most districts of the Valley. However traders’ body, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), held a protest demonstration at commercial hub Lal Chowk in Srinagar against the “killing spree” in Kashmir.

Scores of traders assembled near historic clock tower in Lal Chowk today morning and held a demonstration against the killings of four civilians in Shopian yesterday.

Later, the traders tried to take out a march towards United Nations headquarters at Sonwar here. However, huge posse of government forces already deployed near Polo view prevented them from marching ahead. Many traders were also detained by forces.

However students of Kashmir University also staged massive protests on the campus to oppose the varsity’s decision to hold the 13th J&K Science Congress (2018) function despite Shopian civilian killings.

Eeye witness confirmed Press Trust of Kashmir that the hostel boarders from Zakura Hostel, M.A hostel and M.A.K hostel assembled outside the convocation complex of the varsity and staged pro-freedom slogans.

“The students assembled here against the varsity administration for organising the function despite civilian killings in the Valley,” he said.

He said the students questioned the varsity decision, saying that time was not good for hosting this function.

“People are being killed and the university has invited guests from outside the state. They want to show everything is normal here,” said group of protests.

Meanwhile the students of Kashmir University also offered funeral prayers in absentia for militants and civilians killed during three gunfights in Anantnag and Shopian district yesterday.

Meanwhile undeclared curfew was imposed in Kulgam town of south Kashmir to prevent people from staging protests against the yesterday’s militant and civilian killings.

The killings of 13 militants and four civilians during gunfights in adjacent Anantnag and Shopian district triggered a massive outrage in south Kashmir yesterday. Over 200 people were injured after forces fired bullets and pellets to disperse the protesters. (PTK)