Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday asked shopkeepers to defy pro-freedom leaders’ call for a shutdown and assured complete security “to everybody”. Speaking on the sidelines of a function, S K Mishra, acting Director General of Police, said shopkeepers should open their establishments during day time to defy “separatist-sponsored strike”. “Yes, this is a bad thing (the separatist sponsored strike). People should open their shops even during day time. We are ready to provide protection to everybody,” he said.
The pro-freedom camp, including hardliner Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik, is spearheading the ongoing unrest in the valley triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on July 8. On the prevailing situation in Kashmir, the acting police chief said the situation is “improving” but did not rule out seeking additional forces to restore normalcy in the Valley.
“It (situation) is improving. You see there is deployment. We will enhance the deployment to ensure that no untoward incident occurs,” he said. Mishra, however, said “We will try but in case the situation deteriorates, we will procure additional manpower (to tackle the situation).” On the pro-freedom leaders issuing veiled threats to the policemen allegedly involved in the firing on protesters, he said “These are things they are doing but we are trying our best to maintain law and order.”
“The public needs to come out to restart their normal activities. I appeal to the public to come out during day time and open their shops and lead a normal life,” he said. About the use of pellet guns, Mishra said the Centre has already set up a committee on the issue and once it submits its report “we will see”. Mishra, Special Director General (Coordination) at the Police headquarters, has been officiating as Director General of Police as the incumbent K Rajendra is away on leave.
55 persons have been killed and over 6000 others injured in the clashes between protestors and security forces after the killing of Wani. Since then, pro-freedom leaders have been issuing protest calendars, asking people to observe shutdowns against the civilian killings, crippling normal life in the Valley.