Srinagar: A complete shutdown was observed on Thursday across Kashmir against the killing of four civilians in Khudwani village of Kulgam on Wednesday. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for a two-day shutdown on Thursday and Friday.
Strict restrictions were imposed under Section 144 of CrPC in several parts of old Srinagar. Large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF in anti-riot gear were deployed since the morning. Concertina wires were laid across roads at several places to prevent movement of both pedestrians and vehicles. Government forces also installed road blocks at several places including at Gojwari, Rajouri Kadal, Safa Kadal, Khanyar, Nowhatta and Rainawari.
Students of National Institute of Technology (NIT) at Hazratabal held protests for the second day. Students said that the institute authorities locked the gates and did not allow them to step out of the campus. Students gathered inside the institute premises and raised pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan, and anti-India slogans. They carried placards expressing grief over the loss of innocent lives. One placard read: “Better to become a wild animal here, at least we will get protection under Wildlife Act.”
Students of SKAUST north campus in Wadoora Sopore also protested against the killings of civilians. “Our innocent brothers are being killed every day and our sisters are being raped, and still our government is watching,” said a group of students.
A group of women hostellers at Kashmir University told this reporter on phone that students assembled outside the hostel and held protests. “We raised pro-Pakistan, anti-India and pro-Islam slogans in a peaceful manner,” they said.
The situation in the Valley remained peaceful during the day but minor clashes broke out in Saki Daffar, Nawa Kadal, Darish Kadal, and EidGah areas in old Srinagar and at Soura.
A complete shutdown was observed in north Kashmir as well. In Sopore, Palhalan, and Kupwara, a large number of people hit the streets at 11am and held protests. Eyewitnesses said that police and paramilitary forces chased away protesting youths after traffic movement was disrupted near Bumhama and Drugmulla. A group of youths threw stones at government forces deployed in these areas, triggering minor clashes.
All shops, business centres, and private offices in Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Palhalan, Sangrama, Rafiabad, Narvaw, Langate, Handwara, Kupwara, Kralpora, Hajin and Bandipora remain closed while public transport was also affected. Most of the private and government-run schools remained shut and government offices witnessed thin attendance.
A complete shutdown was also observed in south and central Kashmir. The situation in these areas remained peaceful during the day.
Members of Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee (AAC) held protests after Zuhr prayers in Wanganpora Eidgah. People in large numbers listened to the speakers and raised slogans in favour of the Kashmir struggle for self-determination. Speakers also condemned the efforts of some groups in Jammu region to shield the culprits in the rape and murder of 8-year-old Asifa Bano. Senior AAC activists Mohammad Yousuf Bhat, Bashir Ahmad Pandit, Farooq Ahmad Sheikh and Sahil Ahmad War addressed the people.
The continuous suspension of internet in south Kashmir has created problems for students preparing for the National Eligibility Test (NET). “The last date to submit forms (online) has been fixed on April 13 but internet services are continuously suspended in our area,” a NET aspirant, Irfan, told Kashmir Reader over phone from Anantnag district.
The NET aspirants demanded that the last date for the submission of forms be extended and internet services be immediately restored.
Meanwhile, Ten youth were injured, one critically, in clashes between youth and government forces at Shumnagh in Kupwara district on Thursday, sources said.
They said that at around 4pm forces were returning to Trehgam when they encountered protesting youth at Shumnagh.
The forces resorted to pellet firing and tear gas, they said adding, that ten youth were injured by pellets.
One of the injured, Obaid Ahmad, with pellet injuries in eye, was referred to Srinagar from Kupwara. Sources said that the youth accompanying him in an ambulance to Kupwara hospital were taken out and detained at Trehgam police station.
Government forces also damaged some houses in the area and many commuters traveling from Shumnag to Trehgam were detained, sources said.
Residents staged a protest for release for detained persons.