Kashmir shuts against Sopore youth’s killing
Curfew continues in north Kashmir town; Clashes in Bandipora
Kashmir Tuesday observed shutdown against the killing of a youth by government forces in Sopore area of north Kashmir yesterday. The shutdown call was given by Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Hurriyat Conference Jammu Kashmir (HCJK).
Arshad Aziz Shah of Naseem Bagh Sopore was shot dead while four others injured, one of them critically, after government forces resorted to ‘indiscriminate firing’ to disperse protesters at an encounter site at Krankshivan Colony in Sopore on Monday.
Shops, businesses establishments, educational institutions and private offices remained closed in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir. Public transport also remained affected but private vehicles were seen plying on most of the roads. The strike also affected work in government offices, banks and post offices. The authorities had deployed hundreds of police and paramilitary personnel in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir to thwart any protest demonstrations. Reports of shutdown were also received from central Kashmir’s Budgam and Ganderbal districts.
In Sopore, curfew continued for the second consecutive day Tuesday. Reports said forces had blocked all exit and entry points to the town to stop movement of people and traffic. The forces, they said, had also erected barricades at Sangerhama, Chankhan, Sopore Chowk, Batpora, Degree College road, Iqbal Market and Sopore Bus Stand.
In Hajin and Naidkhai areas of Bandipora district, sporadic clashes broke out this afternoon. The youth fought pitched battles with the forces. However, people accused cops of resorting to stone-pelting. “At Main Chowk Bandipora the Station House Officer and his party indulged in stone pelting and damaged vehicles,” residents told Greater Kashmir over phone. “Ironically, police later harassed the civilians and also detained some of them for stone-pelting.”
Baramulla town also witnessed complete shutdown. All shops were closed and traffic movement was affected. Reports of shutdown were also received from Kupwara, Handwara, Trehgam, Lolab and Kralpora areas of frontier district of Kupwara.
A complete shutdown was also observed in South Kashmir districts of Islamabad (Anantnag), Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian. Shops, business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.
The authorities placed separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Shahid-ul-Islam and Zaffer Akbar Bhat under house arrest.
A police spokesman said the situation remained peaceful throughout the Valley. “However in a stray stone-pelting incident in Muran Chowk Pulwama an 8th class boy Sarwar Husain Dar son of Ashiq Husain of Matrigam was hit by a stone and received injury on his head when he was on way to his school. The boy has suffered depressed skull fracture as per doctors at DH Pulwama,” the spokesman said. “In two other minor incidents, some miscreants in Gulshan Chowk Bandipora and Gojwara Srinagar tried to pelt stones on civilian vehicles but were immediately chased away. Curfew remained imposed in Sopore town today.”