2 Shopian schools designated as polling booths set ablaze; clashes, protests in north, south, Srinagar; thousands attend Ganderbal youth’s funeral
SRINAGAR: Kashmir valley and Kishtwar area in Jammu region observed a complete shutdown on Monday in protest against the killing of eight civilians by government forces on Sunday.
In the Budgam and Ganderbal districts, where the killings took place, mourners demonstrated and clashed with forces even though the government had imposed a law prohibiting assembly of more than four people.
The joint resistance camp of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwair Umer Farooq and Yaseen Malik had called for the valley-wide shutdown on Monday and Tuesday.
In support of the call, government offices and all business establishments were closed and public transport remained off the roads.
Internet remained suspended for the second consecutive day.
Minor clashes also erupted in Ganderbal areas after the burial of a youth, Omar Farooq, who was killed on Sunday evening in Baroosa village. On Monday morning his body was taken to his native village where thousands of people had gathered to bid him adieu. His funeral prayers were offered in main market of Baroosa.
While he was being carried to grave yard, amid Aazadi slogans, women were wailing and showering almonds and candies on his coffin. His body had been placed on the highway throughout the night.
In Srinagar, clashes between the forces and protesters occurred at Natipora, Soura, Habba Kadal, Kadi Kadal, Safa Kadal and many other areas of the old city.
In south Kashmir’s Anantnag, Kulgam, and Pulwama districts, protests and clashes erupted at many places. At Adalach, Srigufara, forces resorted to aerial firing to prevent assembly of protesters. In Shiram, youth attacked polling staff with stones when they were on way to their polling station for the upcoming Anantnag by polls.
Witnesses said that youth were arrested in Gopalpora area of Kulgam ahead of the by-polls, triggering protests and stone pelting.
At Bijbehara, stone-throwing clashes occurred between forces and civilians. In Muran area of Pulwama, civilians damaged six vehicles of government forces when they were on way to a polling station.
In Shopian, a school designated to be a polling station for Anantnag polls was torched by unknown persons. The schools identified as Government Primary School Paderpora was set ablaze by unknown persons during the intervening night of April 9 and 10.
Unknown persons also set ablaze the government high school at Aahend, Rawalpora area of Shopian, which was designated as a polling booth.
In Banderpora area of Pulwama, a panchayat was gutted in fire. It could not be ascertained whether it had been set on fire.
In north Kashmir, protests were reported at Palhallan, government forces resorted to use of teargas shelling, two civilians were injured and refereed to hospitals for treatment. In old town Sopore and Armpora, minor clashes occurred between forces and protesters.
In Kishtwar district of Jammu region, a shutdown was also observed. Imam Jamia Masjid Kishtwar Farooq Ahmed Kitchloo appealed for a complete shutdown in the district tomorrow.
He had said that the government forces were “killing the innocent people in Kashmir, which is against the humanity.”
At many places, civilians manned streets and did not permit vehicles to move around.