Valley closes down over Shopian civilian killings

Valley closes down over Shopian civilian killings
  • 29

Srinagar: A total shutdown with mild incidents of protest was witnessed on Sunday across the Kashmir Valley, a day after two civilian youths were shot dead by the Indian army in volatile Shopian district of south Kashmir.
Authorities, in apprehension of protests, had placed restrictions and deployed forces at Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, Maharaj Gunj, Kralkhud and Maisuma areas of the city. Speed of Internet was restricted to 2G across the Valley, while mobile Internet was fully suspended in Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam, a customary preventive measure adopted by the state after the killing of Burhan Wani in 2016.
At Rainawari and Nawakadal areas, protestors interrupted the calm silence with slogans and stone throwing. Eye witnesses told Kashmir Reader that slogans and freedom songs blared from various mosques in the Shopian district, the home town of two killed civilians.
Elsewhere in the Valley, streets were bare with traffic being mostly off the roads and all business establishments staying closed. In districts of north Kashmir – Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora – shutdown was also observed strictly. There were no incidents of protests reported in these areas.
The trio of resistance leaders, the veteran Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik, had called for a Kashmir-wide shutdown on Sunday to mourn the killings and express resentment against the government.
As per the witnesses, the two youth were killed and several others injured when army troops opened fire on protesters at Ganowpora in Shopian district on Saturday. The locals alleged that the army opened fire at the slightest provocation; however, a defence spokesman refuted this, saying that several of its forces were injured in stone throwing and vehicles were damaged extensively, prompting soldiers to open fire in “self defence”.
The slain were buried in their local graveyards in Balpora and Ganowpora villages on Saturday afternoon. Hundreds of locals offered funeral prayers.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has again ordered a magisterial inquiry into the killings and sought a report within 20 days. She also spoke to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday evening and sought her intervention. Mufti had taken the same measures in previous instances of civilian killings by the armed forces; however no action, if any, taken by the government was made public.
The Defence Minister, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government spokesperson, assured Mufti “that a detailed report will be prepared of the incident and the field formations will be asked to set up mechanisms so that such incidents do not recur in future”.