SRINAGAR: Kashmir observed complete shutdown on Wednesday to protest civilian killings at the hands of security forces near an encounter site while situation remained tense with youth protesting and clashing with security personnel at many places.
The shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed in Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and other parts of the Valley. The public transport was off the roads.
Due to the strike called by the separatist leaders against civilian killings, work in government offices and banks remained affected.
Authorities had deployed large number of police and paramilitary personnel in sensitive areas of the Valley. The security men maintained tight vigil to foil protests against civilian killings.
Three youth Zahid Rashid Ganai, Amir Fayaz Waza and Ishaq Ahmed Wani were killed and over two dozen injured when security personnel fired on protestors near encounter site in Chadoora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district yesterday. A militant of Hizbul Mujahideen identified as Touseef Ahmad Wagay was also killed in the gunfight. He had engaged security personnel in firefight for over seven hours reportedly with a pistol.
Thousands of people attended the funeral prayers of three slain civilians at their native places last evening.
Today, funeral prayers of HM militant Tauseef was held at his native place at Kanjikullah in South Kashmir’s Kulgam district. About 20,000 to 30,000 people attended his multiple funeral prayers amidst chanting of pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
The slain HM militant was later buried at his ancestral village.
After his burial, youth clashed with police and paramilitary personnel in the area. They pelted stones on the cops, who fired tear smoke shells and resorted to heavy baton charge. The clashes continued for more than an hour.
People at several places in Valley also offered funeral prayers in absentia for the slain civilians and HM militant.
The situation was very tense in Chadoora area, where three civilians were killed in security forces firing yesterday.
“It is very unfortunate that the security personnel fired live ammunition on protestors yesterday. They could have handled the situation by using other means to avoid civilian casualties,” said a local resident, Abdul Aziz.
He said for killing one militant, security forces shot dead three civilians and injured over three dozen others.
“There can be no justification for killing of three unarmed civilians. Action should be taken against the security personnel, who fired live ammunition on the mob,” said another resident Javed Ahmad.
The house, where the gunfight took place, has become a centre of attraction. People were visiting the house, which suffered extensive damage after security forces used IEDs to blow a portion of it.
The clashes between youth and security personnel were also reported from some uptown and downtown area of Srinagar, parts of North, Central and South Kashmir.
Meanwhile, police detained independent MLA Er Sheikh Abdur Rashid after he and his supporters tried to march towards Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti's residence in Srinagar to protest civilian killings.
The MLA and his supporters assembled at his official residence at Jawahar Nagar in uptown Srinagar and tried to march towards the residence of Mehbooba at Gupkar, Sonawar.
However, the MLA and his supporters were intercepted by the police men. The cops detained the MLA and some of his supporters and lodged them in Police Station Rajbagh.
They were later set free.
A police officer said the day passed off peacefully with no major untoward incident reported from anywhere.