Kashmir shuts to protest civilian killings

Kashmir shuts to protest civilian killings
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Clashes after stone-pelting in Kulgam’s Wanpoh, roads blocked with concertina wires in old Srinagar, train services suspended entire day

Srinagar: Yet another shutdown was observed across Kashmir on Saturday in protest against yet another civilian killing at the hands of government forces. In Kulgam, where a youth Khalid Ahmad Dar was killed on Tuesday when government forces opened fire on locals who were pelting them with stones, clashes erupted in Wanpoh area once again with youths hurling stones at vehicles of the government forces.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had called for a shutdown today to protest the Kulgam youth’s killing. To prevent them from taking part in protests, Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Geelani and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai were placed under house arrest while police arrested Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, Bashir Ahmad Irfani, Muhammad Yaseen Attai, Bilal Ahmad Siddiqui and Umer Adil Dar late on Friday.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was also placed under house arrest while as Yasin Malik along with the JKLF’s zonal organiser Bashir Ahmad Kashmiri were arrested by police.
The government imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar including Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, MR Gunj and Safakadal in the old city and in Maisuma and Kralkhud uptown areas.
Police and CRPF personnel wearing riot gear were deployed at major routes and junctions of Srinagar. In the old city, barbed wires were laid on roads to restrict movement of traffic as well as pedestrians.
Late in the evening, when the deployment was being withdrawn, clashes broke out at Kawdara, Nowhatta and Zainakadal areas, witnesses said. The government forces responded to stone-pelting by youths with intense teargas shelling.
Shops and business establishments in Srinagar remained closed and thin movement of transport was seen on the roads. Universities also witnessed thin attendance and many private educational institutions preferred to cancel classes for the day.
In south Kashmir, minor clashes occurred at a couple of places in Anantnag district. No one was reported injured during these clashes.
According to reports, a complete shutdown was observed in all the four districts of south Kashmir.
Clashes erupted in Wanpoh area of Kulgam after youths pelted vehicles of government forces with stones. The forces used teargas shells, sound shells and also aerial firing to disperse the stone-throwing youth, who kept regrouping and the clashes continued for quite a while.
In Wulerhama village of Pahalgam, minor clashes were reported during a Cordon and Search Operation (CASO) carried out by government forces. Local sources said that announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers urging people to come out soon after the CASO was launched.
SDPO Pahalgam, Javaid Ahmad, however maintained that no clashes took place during the CASO. “No clashes took place there. The operation is about to be concluded,” he said.
In north Kashmir as well, the strike affected daily life. Sopore town and its adjacent villages witnessed a complete shutdown. All shops and business establishments were closed while thin traffic movement was witnessed on the roads.
Train services remained suspended across the valley for the entire day.