Kashmir Shuts To Remember 2010 Unrest Victims

Kashmir Shuts To Remember 2010 Unrest Victims

11 June 2012
The Hindustan Times
Ashiq Hussain

Srinagar: People in Kashmir valley observed a strike on Monday, commemorating the victims of 2010 summer unrest, on the call of hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Unlike past government did not put any restrictions in summer capital Srinagar which was responded by people with a peaceful shutdown. While schools and business establishments in most areas of the city and major towns of the valley remained closed, a lack of public transport prevented government employees from getting to work. Some shops in the uptown areas of the city ignored the strike and opened their businesses. “We thank people for today’s peaceful strike. It should be an answer to those who say that the strikes are thrust upon people and are enforced. The strike has proved that the sentiment of people towards the martyrs is still strong,” said Geelani’s spokesman, Ayaz Akbar. Geelani has called people to observe a ‘martyrs week’ in Kashmir valley from today in memory of the youth who lost their lives in the summer of 2010 triggered by the death of a school boy Tufail Ahmad Matoo. A class 12 student, Matoo was killed in a cricket stadium after a teargas shell fired by police hit him in Rajouri Kadal area of old city on June 11, 2010. The death triggered mass protests across Kashmir prompting the police and CRPF, then unknown to non-lethal methods of crowd control, to use bullets against stone pelting boys. Over 120 youth, most of them school going boys, were killed as stone pelting spiraled against the gun wielding police and CRPF. As against the year 2011 when separatist were reticent, this year they called people to remember those killed. While the public transport was off the roads in Srinagar but a large number of small passenger cars mostly ferrying tourists to Dal Lake and health resorts like Gulmarg and Sonamarg were plying normally. “Tourists are our guests and everybody understands that. While locals have to remember their loved ones who were killed, the visitors are free to move anywhere,” said Azim Tuman, President House Boat Owners Association. Already 5 lakh tourists have visited valley till June 10 this season even as hotels, guest houses and houseboats remained jam packed with visitors. Owing to a semblance of normalcy, 13 lakh tourists visited Kashmir valley in 2011 with officials hopeful of the number crossing 20 lakh this year.