Schools, colleges closed, internet snapped; several journalists beaten up
SRINAGAR: Intense clashes erupted between people and government forces in several parts of Srinagar soon after news came of two local militants and a civilian having been killed by government forces in old city’s Fateh Kadal area on Wednesday morning.
A large number of youths hit the streets and shopkeepers downed their shutters as busy streets became deserted within minutes.
The district administration ordered the closure of all schools and colleges in Srinagar, while Kashmir University suspended class work for the day.
Mobile internet and broadband services were snapped early in the morning in Srinagar district by government authorities.
According to reports, public protests began in areas of Fateh Kadal, Khanyar, Kaw Mohalla, Karfali Mohalla, Baba Demb, Rainawari and other parts of the old city, soon escalating into stone-pelting and clashes with government forces.
In Fateh Kadal, government forces fired tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse the stone-throwing youth. However, the stone-pelting and protests continued for most of the day.
Stone-pelting also began in Khanyar and adjoining areas where government forces again fired pellets and tear smoke shells to scatter the protestors. Reports said that the government forces also resorted to aerial firing. No major injuries were reported, however, though several youths are said to have sustained minor injuries during the clashes.
As per reports, protesters pelted government forces with stones in areas of Nowhatta, Parimpora and Soura in the evening hours.
More than a dozen journalists were beaten up by government forces near the encounter site in Fateh Kadal when they were covering the incident. Reports said that government forces also fired bullets in the air to make journalists leave the encounter site.
Police also issued an advisory asking the general public to not go near the Fateh Kadal encounter site, saying the site was being sanitised by the Bomb Disposal squad of police.
Other parts of the city including Lal Chowk, Goni Khana, Karan Nagar, Shaheed Gunj, Saria Bala and Maisuma wore a deserted look during the day. All shops, business establishments were closed down and very thin traffic was seen plying on the roads.
Witnesses said that people were also evacuated from Pratap Park in the city centre by the police. People who sat even in small groups in public places were told to leave by government forces.
In the late hours of the day, hundreds of people from Munawwarabad, Khanyar and Eidgah took out a protest demonstration against the killing of the militants and the civilian.