Local traders and students on Monday protested against the killings of civilians in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Sunday.
Carrying placards and raising slogans, a group of traders under the banner of the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation assembled at the Ghanta Ghar in the city’s Lal Chowk and raised slogans against the government.
They demanded that the killing spree in the Valley should be stopped. “Killing of innocent civilians is a deep-rooted conspiracy ….this is unfortunate…we urge the Indian civil society and international bodies such as Amnesty International to come forward and play its role. If this attitude of the Central government continues, there will be serious consequences,” said association president Haji Mohammad Yasin Khan.
Later, the traders tried took out a march towards the United Nations headquarters at Sonwar, but their bid was foiled.
Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) president Engineer Abdul Rashid too protested against the civilian killings at the City Centre.
The Kashmir Traders’ Federation also condemned the killing of civilians. Federation chief spokesperson Aijaz Shahdhar termed the killings a ‘deep-rooted conspiracy aimed at genocide of the Kashmiri youth’.
Meanwhile, the students of the University of Kashmir protested the killings. Eyewitnesses said the students, who live in accommodations close to the university, and hostellers, protested against the Shopian killings. However, the security forces deployed on the campus did not allow the protesters to come out of the university.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed on Monday across the Kashmir valley in response to the three gunfights on Sunday in which 20 people, including 13 militants, died.
The markets across all districts of the Kashmir valley remained shut and roads were deserted as public transport came to a halt in the region. The schools and colleges also remained closed.
The three gunfights in south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Shopian districts left 13 militants, four civilians and three soldiers dead and sparked protests. The Sunday death toll was one of the highest in recent years and left the region’s residents in shock.
The authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar city and in parts of north and south Kashmir districts to prevent deterioration of the law and order situation.
The funeral of at least five militants, who were killed in a gunfight at Kachdoora village of Shopian, was held at their native villages leading to more protests in the south Kashmir district.
In Srinagar, an association of traders and businessmen held a protest against the killings in Shopian. Independent legislator Engineer Rasheed along with his workers also held a protest and shouted slogans against the incident.
The mobile Internet services, which were suspended across the Kashmir valley immediately after the death toll started to climb yesterday, remained shut for the second consecutive day.
The state police also made an appeal to the people “to maintain order” and asked them not to “fall prey to any speculation and rumour”.
All militants killed in Sunday’s gunfight were locals from districts of Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag, indicating a growing presence of locals in militant ranks.