Srinagar: A shutdown was observed across Kashmir on Wednesday on the call of the joint resistance leadership (JRL) to protest against three civilian killings at the hands of government forces this past week. Markets, business establishments, schools, colleges and universities remained closed while most public transport was off the roads.
The authorities had imposed restrictions in Srinagar old-city areas and deployed there additional forces to thwart any street protest. Strict restrictions were imposed in downtown areas under seven police stations including Maisuma and Kralkhud. There was no report of any protest or clashes in these areas during the day.
A doctor at SMHS hospital Srinagar said that a 15-year-boy named Mubarik Hassan son of Ghulam Hassan Dar of Baripora in Nawa Kadal was brought to the emergency ward.
“The boy first said that he fell from a height and got injured but later changed the statement to say he was beaten by CRPF personnel,” the doctor said. “The medicos conducted some tests including CT Scan which were normal. He was given two stitches in his head for injury and was discharged. It was a normal injury.”
Reports said that Mubarik was allegedly beaten by CRPF in his area.
A complete shutdown was observed in the business hub of Lal Chowk and Batamaloo areas. Cart vendors were seen in Batamaloo, selling their wares without any disturbance.
Eyewitnesses said that a complete shutdown was observed in Pakherpora and Narbal areas of central Kashmir’s Budgam district, where in some areas a partial strike was observed. Minimal traffic was seen plying in main town Budgam and Beerwah area.
Similar reports were received from Ganderbal district where partial to complete shutdown was observed.
In northern Kashmir, complete shutdown was observed but movement of traffic was observed in Kupwara and Baramulla. Similar reports came from main town Bandipora.
Authorities had made additional deployment to thwart any protest, sources said.
Locals from Hajin in Bandipora said that complete shutdown was observed in the town and no traffic plied on the roads.
Residents of Shopian district in south Kashmir said that complete shutdown was observed in their area. “The situation was peaceful after the killing of a lady and two militants on Tuesday,” said a local from the main town of the district.
In Batmaran area, where the two militants and a 24-year-old woman were killed, and dozens injured in clashes with government forces on Tuesday, people came to offer condolences to families of the killed woman and of the slain local militant.
“The four families whose houses were completely blasted by government forces are living at the homes of their relatives and neighbours,” said a local. “People also visited them to express sympathies.”
A complete shutdown was observed in Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag districts. “There was a stone-pelting incident in Bijbehara main town at about 11am today,” said an eyewitness.
While calling for today’s shutdown, the JRL had said, “The brutal killings of Misra Bano and Asif Iqbal of Kupwara, Ruby (Beauty) Jan of Shopian and Zahid Ahmad who was killed in Rajasthan, clearly show that Indian army, occupational forces and police are here only to kill Kashmiris and pro-India politicians are deployed to provide legal shield to these killers.”
Soon after the JRL called for a shutdown, the government placed under house arrest Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and detained many Hurriyat Conference (G) activists.
A source in Hurriyat Conference (G) said that its leaders and activists including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Syed Imtiyaz Hyder, Muhammad Yaseen Attai, Gh Rasool Kar, Hakeem Abdul Rashid were detained either in their houses or in different police stations.