Kashmir shuts down to protest civilian killings

Kashmir shuts down to protest civilian killings

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Complete shutdown in Kashmir Valley on 17 June 2015.
Complete shutdown in Kashmir Valley on 17 June 2015.

A complete shutdown was observed on Wednesday against the mysterious civilian killings in Sopore town of North Kashmir.

Six civilians have been killed in last three weeks by unknown gunmen in Sopore. The joint shutdown call was given by the separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmed Shah, while it was supported by militant outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba and other separatist organizations also.

Markets and other business establishments remained closed and public transport did not ply in Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley. Attendance in banks, post offices and government offices was badly affected while most of the educational institutions remained closed.

The situation in Srinagar city remained peaceful, however, at HMT two youth were injured during clashes with police forces. Groups of youth resorted to stone-pelting in the area. The clashes between police and youth continued for hours.

There were reports of minor clashes in the Sopore and Bandipora area of north Kashmir, even as shops, business establishments and educational institutions in Baramulla and Sopore town remained closed.

The police and paramilitary forces were deployed in strength especially in sensitive areas like Sopore and Pattan townships to maintain law and order, the officials said.

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead four civilians in past eight days and overall six people, including two former militants, in last three weeks. These killings have sparked instant protests in the volatile town of Sopore.

Separatists have maintained that ‘secret intelligence agencies’ of the government are behind these killings as they want to instill fear among the people working for freedom of Kashmir. The police, however, blamed  a breakaway group of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit for these killings.

Life was also affected in Chenab Valley of Jammu division due to strike call, where educational institutions and other business establishments remained closed.