Kashmir Shuts over Shopian civilian killings, Authorities imposed restrictions

  • Attempts by Geelani, Mirwaiz to take out a march foiled
  • Schools to remain shut till March 9
  • Several injured as clashes continue

The authorities in Kashmir today foiled attempts by senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to lead protest marches to Shopian by imposing restrictions in parts of Srinagar and south Kashmir areas.
While Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was detained outside his Nigeen residence by a contingent of the police after he attempted to take out a protest march this morning, Syed Ali Geelani was not able to move beyond a point outside his residence this afternoon as the police had barricaded the area around his Hyderpora residence besides placing concertina wires in the alleys leading to his residence.
Before being detained outside his residence, Mirwaiz told the media that the “killing of innocent civilians is unacceptable” while also holding the state government “directly responsible” for the killings. He said “till the time black laws like AFSPA are not revoked and forces are not made accountable, the blood of innocent Kashmiri will continue to be spilled”.
A spokesman of the hardline Hurriyat said Geelani came out of his residence-cum-office at 12:15 pm, but the police and CRPF didn’t allow him to visit Shopian as the whole area had been barricaded.
The joint resistance leadership (JRL) comprising Geelani, Mirwaiz Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for ‘Shopian Chalo’ march today to “express solidarity” with the families of the youth who were killed in Army firing in Shopian on March 4 evening.
A majority of the shops and business establishments in Srinagar city and other major towns were closed while public transport on major city roads and inter-district highways also remained suspended today.
Fearing law and order problem, the authorities as a “precautionary measure” had also suspended the railways services between Banihal and Baramulla today. The schools and colleges are already closed in the region after the government on Monday extended the winter vacation by three days as tension spiralled over the Shopian shootout in which six persons, including four civilians and two militants, were killed.

The government has ordered closure of schools and degree colleges on March 8 and 9. The decision has been taken as a “precautionary measure to avoid law and order situation in Valley”. “The classwork will remain suspended on Thursday and Friday in all schools and colleges across Kashmir,” an official said. He said the classwork would resume on Saturday. “In south Kashmir, the classwork will resume from Monday,” the official said.

Meanwhile, Several people were injured as clashes continued in Shopian district for the second consecutive day on Wednesday following the killing of two militants and four civilians in Army firing on Sunday evening. A complete shutdown was observed across south Kashmir for the third day on Wednesday as the separatist amalgam joint resistance leadership had called for a “Shopian chalo” march. Local sources said vehicles remained off road completely and commercial establishments were closed for the day. In Shopian, violent clashes between locals and security forces erupted at four places, including Bonne Bazar, Meemandar, mini secretariat area and Sofan Aman. Security forces used tearsmoke shells and pellet guns to disperse local stone-throwers. Sources said over a dozen people were injured in the clashes, which continued throughout the day. Protesting youth also assembled in Pahnoo and threw stones at the nearby Army camp. Army personnel, however, chose not to respond.