Srinagar: A shutdown was observed Wednesday across the Kashmir Valley against the killing of two teenagers by army at Chattergam in Budgam, even as three people, including a policeman, were injured in clashes.
On Monday, 13-year-old Burhan Yousuf alias Faisal, and Meraj Ahmad Dar, 18, residents of Nowgam, were shot dead by the soldiers of 53 Rashtriya Rifles when they were returning home after watching a Muharram procession at Chattergam. The killings set-off violent anti-India protests prompting authorities to impose undeclared curfew in the area.
The curfew-like restrictions remained in place for the second day Wednesday in Nowgam. All roads leading to Banpora and Khwajapora localities of Nowgam were sealed off by contingents of CRPF and police to thwart protests by the locals. The forces also prevented people from visiting the families of the slain duo, reports said.
However, as the day progressed, groups of youth defied curbs and staged pro-freedom and anti-India demonstrations. Chanting slogans like “We want freedom,” and “Go India, go back”, the protesters attacked the troopers and policemen with stones.
“The forces hurled several teargas canisters to disperse the protesters. However, the protesters regrouped and continued renewed assaults on the forces,” Manzoor Ahmad, an eyewitness, said.
A policeman identified as Parvez Ahmad of IRP 2nd battalion was injured after he was hit by a stone. Two youth, whose identity could not be ascertained, also suffered minor injuries in the clashes that continued for some time. Two boys identified as Arif Ahmed and Tauseef Ahmed Wani were arrested when the area was witnessing anti-India protests.
Earlier in the day, violent clashes broke out when youth clashed with the government forces in Rek Chowk, Batamaloo. The forces burst tear smoke shells after failing to disperse protesters with batons.
Clashes also erupted in several parts of the downtown here, when the forces were returning to their camps after enforcing day long restrictions on the civilian movement. Clashes broke out in Nowhatta, Khanyar, Habba Kadal, Nawab Bazaar and other localities of the downtown, where CRPF and police used batons and fired teargas canisters to contain the stone pelting protesters.
“When the troopers were withdrawing, the youth emerged from the lanes and by lanes and pelted stones at them. This led to fierce clashes,” Mohammad Umar, a resident of Nowhatta, told Kashmir Reader. The forces , used tear smoke shells to push back the stone pelting youth, he said.
Meanwhile, a shutdown was observed in Srinagar in response to the call given by parallel Hurriyat Conference factions and JKLF.
All shops, offices, commercial establishments, banks, and petrol pumps were closed, while public transport remained off the otherwise busy roads of this summer capital of the state, eyewitnesses said.
The historic Lal Chowk, commercial hub of this capital city, and its adjacent areas wore a deserted look due to the shutdown. A posse of CRPF and policemen armed with sophisticated weapons and riot gear guarded the deserted streets, lanes and by lanes of the uptown to foil any attempt of the people to stage anti-India demonstrations.
Reports of shutdown were also received from other parts of the Valley.