Kashmir shut in protest and mourning

Kashmir shut in protest and mourning
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Junaid Rather

Srinagar: A complete shutdown was observed in entire Kashmir against the killing of five civilians and an equal number of militants in a gunfight and post-gunfight clashes in Shopian district on Sunday. The shutdown call was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mohammad Yasin Malik, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
The police detained resistance leaders and foiled the march towards civil secretariat called by the JRL in Srinagar, even as it allowed certain protest marches – by the National Conference towards the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), by the Bar association towards the civil secretariat – and foiled protest marches led by the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) and by Langate MLA Engineer Rasheed.
The authorities had imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPC in seven police station areas in old Srinagar. Residents said that government forces were deployed in strength in downtown areas. The city’s commercial hub, Lal Chowk, witnessed a complete shutdown. All schools and colleges had already been closed for Monday, and the government announced that they will remain closed on Tuesday. Some movement of vehicles was seen in Civil Lines areas of Srinagar.
Train services were suspended across the Valley and mobile internet services remain suspended in all south Kashmir districts since Sunday, as also in Srinagar and Ganderbal districts in central Kashmir.
In all the four districts of south Kashmir, complete shutdown was observed. Locals said that there was huge deployment of security forces. All business establishments and markets remained closed in Kulgam, Anantnag, Shopian and Pulwama districts. Public and private transport was off the roads. Most government offices did not function because the employees could not reach.
In north Kashmir, a complete strike was observed across all districts. All shops and business establishments, tuition centres, petrol pumps, and private offices remained closed in Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Palhalan, Sangrama, Rafiabad, Langate, Kralgund, Handwara, Kupwara, Kralpora, Lolab, Bandipora, Hajin and other towns. Locals said that large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed in these areas.
In central Kashmir’s Budgam district, a complete shutdown was observed, but some movement of traffic was seen in main town Budgam and in Beerwah.
Kashmir Reader received reports that a complete shutdown was observed in Ganderbal district.
Police detained Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at his Nigeen residence, stopping him from marching towards the civil secretariat. Later, Mirwaiz was taken to Nigeen police station and detained there.
Reports said that contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed outside Syed Ali Geelani’s Hyderpora residence. JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik had already been taken into preventive custody by police.
Members of the opposition National Conference (NC) took out a protest march from the party’s head office Nawa-e-Subah to the Tourist Reception Centre. The rally was led by NC General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, Sagar said, “Government forces have been given the license to kill Kashmiris at their own will. The commitments and the promises made by PM Modi are nowhere to be seen.”
He added that the government had failed to revoke AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir, due to which civilian killings were going on unabated.
Members of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association, led by General Secretary GN Shaheen, took out a protest march from High Court towards civil secretariat. Sloganeering against the civilian killings, they demanded ‘Right to Self-Determination’ for Kashmiris.
KTMF members led by their president Muhammad Yaseen Khan also took out a protest march towards the civil secretariat but police stopped them from proceeding beyond Residency Road.
The police also foiled the march led by Langate MLA Engineer Rashid towards the civil secretariat.
A police official told Kashmir Reader that the situation across the Valley remained peaceful.