SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown and fierce stone-pelting incidents, especially in Shopian district, showed the public anger at the killing of 13 militants and four civilians, and the firing of bullets and pellets on hundreds of protestors in south Kashmir.
The shutdown began early in the morning, when news arrived of a militant from Anantag having been killed in an encounter. Soon after, news started pouring in of more killings of militants, as well as of civilians in Shopian, followed by reports of clashes and injuries from bullets and pellets to hundreds of civilians.
Eyewitnesses said that the police and paramilitary used massive force on the mammoth funeral procession of slain militant Zubair Turray. By the time this report was filed, only two civilians and five militants had been laid to rest at their respective villages.
Shopian witnessed the fiercest stone-fighting and protests through the day. Eyewitnesses said that forces fired bullets at the people gathered in the lawn of the sub-district hospital when a civilian body arrived there.
“It was exactly a war-like situation,” said a witness. “Shopian everywhere was on the boil. Whosoever has reached home is like a newborn for his family.”
Protests were seen in many areas of Srinagar city, including at Rainawari, Zal Dagar, Soura, Ilahibagh and other areas. The Sunday market in Lal Chowk began to close in the afternoon.
Clashes erupted in Hajin area of north Kashmir. Eyewitness said that youths took out a protest march and hurled stones on the army’s Good Will School in Hajin. To chase away the youth, forces lobbed tear gas shells and fired pellets. All business establishments remained closed in the area.
Students of Kashmir University also held a protest inside the campus. A procession was taken out from the boys’ hostel to the Sir Syed Gate, where funeral prayers in absentia were offered for the slain. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
A student told Kashmir Reader that a science congress is to be held at the university on Monday and wardens of hostels have told students to not hold any protests, or else they will be “held responsible” for it.
Exams scheduledon Monday at Kashmir University, Central University of Kashmir, Islamic University of Science and Technology, and Islamia College of Science & Commerce Hawal have been postponed. The government has also ordered closure of all schools and colleges on Monday.
Mobile internet services have been suspended across south Kashmir. Train services have also been suspended.
Dukhtaran-e-Millat chairperson Asiya Andrabi in an audio message that was widely circulated on Facebook has asked Pakistan to observe April 1 as a “Black Day”. In the evening, a Pakistan government spokesman condemned today’s killings by Indian forces and the indiscriminate use of force against civilian protestors. Pakistan urged the international community to take note of the human rights violations in the Indian-held part of Kashmir.
Meanwhile in view of concerns expressed by applicants, contractual lecturer interviews in subjects of Economics and Archaeology scheduled to be held at University of Kashmir today have been postponed.
The university will notify the fresh dates for the deferred interviews later.