Srinagar: A complete shutdown was observed in the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday on the third death anniversary of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail after being convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack case.
In Srinagar, the government had announced ‘restrictions’, a euphemism for curfew, in a vast area that falls in the jurisdiction of six police stations — Nowhatta, Khanyar, Mahrajgunj, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maisuma— to prevent anti-India protests.
Thousands of policemen and paramilitary troopers had been deployed throughout the city. Concertina wire had been placed across the breadth of roads in the old city and some other areas to restrict people’s movement.
In Habakadal, stone-throwing protesters clashed with the policemen who resorted to baton charge and teargas shelling.
Shops in Lal Chowk remained closed, but private transport vehicles were plying normally in the commercial hub. Most of the government and private offices remained closed.
A complete shutdown was also observed in north Kashmir. All shops and other business establishments remained closed in Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Sopore, Sangrama, Pattan, Palhalan, Sheeri, Rafiabad and Kunzar.
In the pro-freedom bastion of Palhalan, protesters clashed with police and paramilitary forces near the Bus Stand.
All major towns in south Kashmir, including Islamabad, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Pompore, Tral, Awantipora, Kakapora, Samboora, Mattan and Khudwani observed a complete shutdown.
A Hurriyat (G) spokesman said senior leaders Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Ayaz Akbar and Mohammad Ashraf Laya were detained in their homes, while several others including JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik have been shifted to Central Jail.
About 50 Tehreek-e-Hurriyat activists, including Firdous Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Yaseen Attaay, Sayed Imtiyaz Hyder, Mohammad Amin Sofi, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Subhan Wani, Bilal Ahmad and Mehraj-ud-din were detained at various police stations.
Police also raided the homes of Hurriyat leaders Mohammad Yousuf Naqash and Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal.
The spokesman said that Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said, “On one hand India is committing genocide of Kashmiris and on the other hand not allowing them to mourn over the bodies of their loved ones. It is the worst kind of state terrorism which the Kashmiri nation has been facing for the past 68 years.”
“Kashmir has been converted into a major jail and its people feel suffocated,” he added.