Spontaneous shutdown in Kashmir; Protests, clashes, one dozen injured


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Deployment of police and paramilitary forces in Kashmir on Thursday. Photograph by Shahid Tantray

By News Desk & Muheet ul Islam

The youth’s killing in Varmul added fuel to the post Afzal Guru’s execution prevailing unrest in Kashmir as it remained tense and observed complete shut down on Thursday after the killing of a youth Tahir Rasool Sofi in army firing in North Kashmir on Tuesday.

Though, no shut down call was given by any separatist group but the Valley including heart of the Srinagar observed complete shutdown. Traffic was off on the roads, business establishments and other institutions remained shuttered down. Authoritees imposed curfew in various city areas apart from tense north Kashmir areas of Varmul and Sopore.

One dozen people and half dozen police personnel were injured during clashes, official sources said.

Police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in large numbers in sensitive areas of the city and other parts of the Valley to maintain law and order.

Some areas in Downtown Srinagar remained under heavy deployment of forces and witnessed stone pelting incidents. Habba Kadal, in downtown area witnessed various incidents of stone pelting during prevailing unrest.

Incidents of stone throwing occurred at Habba Kadal, Safa Kadal, Bemina, Padshaibagh, Rambagh, Natipora, Maisuma, Humhama, Byepass, Batamaloo and in various other localities

“Habba Kadal has remained the most affected and uncontrolled area where most stone pelting incidents occurred during recent unrest after execution”, said police official requesting anonymity.

Reports of stone throwing and protests were also received from other districts. Around one dozen people got injured in the clashes while half dozen police and para military personnel were also reportedly injured. Reports of throwing pelting and protests were received from other districts also.

Meanwhile, a police spokesman said the situation across the valley remained largely peaceful. Some stone throwing incidents were reported in Srinagar and other parts of the valley, he added.

“Miscreants pelted stones in Batamaloo and Zakoora in Srinagar, Khanpora, Cement bridge and Palhalan in Baramulla, Narbal crossing in Budgam, Papchan in Bandipora, Cherkoot Lolab in Kupwara. Police exercised maximum restraint chased them away. Nine policemen and two civilians received minor injuries,” he said in a statement adding, “Curfew remained imposed in Police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, M.R Ghanj, Rainawari, Safakadal, Zadibal, Kralkhud and Maisuma in Srinagar, and in Police district Sopore”.

Meanwhile, a Swaraj Mazda vehicle of a private cement factory bearing registration number 6276/JK01F was set on fire by unknown people, when driver Bilal Ahmad Khandy son of Abdul Aziz parked the vehicle near Wuyan as per routine.

The vehicle was partially damaged. Police has registered a case in this regard.

Restrictions ordered in Srinagar

“In view of law and order situation and to avoid breach of peace and tranquillity and damage to life and property, District Magistrate Srinagar, in exercise of the powers vested him under Section 144 Cr. P.C. has imposed restrictions on the movement of public and transport in entire district Srinagar from midnight of 7th March 2013 till further orders,” an official spokesman said.

Senior Superintendent of Police has been directed to implement this order in letter and spirit, he added.

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