Baramulla: Indefinite curfew continued Wednesday for the second consecutive day in Sopore town of this north Kashmir district, where a youth was shot dead and four others injured by government forces on Monday during a pro-freedom demonstration. Elsewhere in the Valley, life returned to normal after remaining affected for two days due to government curbs and a shutdown called by several pro-freedom groups.
22-year-old Arshid Ahmad Shah, a cab driver, was shot in the chest by government forces while breaking up a pro-freedom protest in Krankshivan locality of Sopore, hours after the 18-hour gun-battle ended with the killing of LeT commander Mehmood Bhai. Four youth had also suffered injuries in what the locals had termed unprovoked firing by the forces. The killing had triggered strong protests in the town prompting the authorities to impose a strict curfew. Several pro-freedom groups including both factions of Hurriyat Conference had called for shutdown on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, reports said CRPF troopers and police enforced strict curfew in the apple town to thwart any protests against the killing of Arshid. Contingents of CRPF and police kept a constant vigil in Chankhan, Naseem Bagh, Krankshivan, Main Chowk, Batpora, Arampora, Khushal Matoo, Baba Yousuf and other parts of the town and kept the residents indoors. The forces , had used barricades and spools of razor wire to cut of volatile areas from rest of the district.
Cops and troopers were also deployed in huge numbers along the Srinagar- Sopore and Srinagar-Kupwara highways.
However, late evening, violent protests broke out at Main Chowk, Hathi Shah, Ash Peer, and other areas when the forces were returning to their camps. Angry protesters also attacked police station Sopore with stones.
The forces fired dozens of teargas canisters to disperse the stone pelting youth. However, the defiant youth regrouped and continued attacking the cops from lanes and by lanes of Arampora, reports said.
The clashes continued till late evening. However, no one was reported to be injured in the ding-dong battles.
Meanwhile, life returned to normal in other major towns and districts of the Valley after two days of shutdown called by pro-freedom groups.
In Srinagar, the capital city, all shops, business establishments, private and government offices, petrol pumps and educational institutions resumed their work while the markets witnessed huge rush.
City’s commercial hub Lal Chowk was bustling with business activities. Banks and ATMs witnessed huge rush. The transport that remained affected due to the shutdown and curbs also returned on all the roads and highways, reports said.
Enquiry officer to record statements
The District Magistrate Baramulla, Farooq Ahmed Lone, who has been appointed as enquiry officer into the killing of Arshid Ahmad Shah by government forces at Sopore on June 23, has notified that any person having any knowledge about the firing incident can depose before him from June 26 to June 30, from 2 pm onwards, in his office.
According to a notice issued Wednesday, the depositions can be made orally or in the form of written affidavits.
The government had constituted an enquiry committee comprising District Magistrate Baramulla to ascertain the factual position with respect to the causes and circumstances of the firing that took place in Krankshivan, Sopore on June 23, leading to the death of Arshid and injuries to four other persons.