Srinagar: A complete shutdown was observed on Wednesday across the Valley against the killing of three Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants, whose blood-riddled bodies were recovered from an orchard in Pattan on Monday.
All shops, offices, commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed. Public transport was also off the roads.
State administration had deployed police and paramilitary forces at all sensitive locations across the Valley to prevent people from holding anti-India protests.
Sporadic protests and brief incidents of stone pelting were also reported from different parts of the Valley.
In Srinagar, human rights activist and chairman of the International Forum for Justice and Human Rights (IFJHR) Mohammad Ahsan Untoo was detained by police during an anti-India demonstration.
Untoo, as a symbolic gesture, was wearing a white kurta dotted with red color marks and holding a photograph of the three Hizb militants in his hand.
“Instead of killing us one by one, India should kill all Kashmiris once and for all,” Untoo said while taking to reporters.
On Srinagar–Muzaffarabad highway at Kanispora and Hygam, a group of youth pelted clashed with the police. The protestors were trying to block the traffic on the highway.
The three youths hailed from Pattan and Sopore areas of Baramulla district. A complete strike was observed in Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora, Kupwara, Trehgam, Handwara, Rafiabad, Sangrama, Pattan, Kunzar, Palhalan, Sheeri, Boniyar, Tangmarg, Narbal, Kreeri, Kralpora and several other areas of north Kashmir.
Clashes between protesters and government forces continued for several hours at Kondbal in Manasbal area. The police fired dozens of teargas canisters to chase away the protesters.
Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest indigenous militant group in the state on Tuesday said three youth – Amir Rishi, Ashiq Wani and Naved Khan – were members of the outfit who were killed in custody ‘by the Special Operation Group of police and ‘paid agents of the enemy’.
Both the factions of Hurriyat and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front had called people to observe shutdown. The call was supported by United Jehad Council, a conglomerate of militant outfits, against the killings.
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani termed these killings as a “cold blooded murder’’, while police said the three were part of Lashkar-e-Islam, a breakaway group of Hizbul Mujahideen, led by Qayoom Najar.
Hizbul Mujahideen has denied the existence of Lashkar-e-Islam and said that the government and its agencies were “trying to fool the people by portraying the killings as the fallout of a rivalry between the Hizbul and Lashkar-e-Islam.”