Kashmir Protests Shopian Killings

Kashmir Protests Shopian Killings

12 September 2013
Greater Kashmir
Shabir Ibn Yusuf

Srinagar: Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on separatists’ call on Thursday against killing of innocents in Shopian by paramilitary CRPF even as protest demonstrations were held against the killings at several places. All shops, business establishments, banks, educational institutions and government offices across Kashmir were closed while roads wore a deserted look as no public transport plied. The strike call was given by Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and was supported by High Court Bar Association (HCBA). Hundreds of forces personnel were deployed in old Srinagar since morning. Hawal, Soura, Dalgate, Rajouri Kadal, Bohri Kadal and Nowhatta witnessed clashes while forces erected barricades at some places to thwart protests. Reports said that groups of youth in these localities took to streets and held strong protest demonstrations against Shopian killings. The protestors were chanting pro-freedom and anti-establishment slogans. They were demanding the arrest of CRPF personnel involved in the killings of five people in Shopian district of south Kashmir. Reports said that large contingents of forces intercepted the protestors at these places. They burst tear smoke shells and cane charged the protestors. Joints contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF were seen patrolling the volatile areas of old Srinagar. The forces personnel blocked the roads with razor wire in Hawal blocking the movement of pedestrians and vehicles. In uptown areas of Chanapora, Nowgam, Barzalla and By-pass, forces in riot gear were deployed to maintain law and order and ensure smooth movement of forces convoys along the By-pass. Commercial hub Lal Chowk wore a deserted look and forces were seen patrolling the streets. Adjoining Maisuma also witnessed heavy deployment of forces. The police assisted by the CRPF were seen carrying out thorough checking of private vehicles in almost all parts of Srinagar. At some places forces were reportedly asking the people purpose of moving out. High Court Bar Association, which supported the shutdown call, boycotted the court proceedings as a mark of protest against Shopian killings. “We suspended our work and did not attend the Court,” Bar spokesperson said. AIP STAGES PROTEST, ER RASHID ARRESTED President Awami Ittihaad Party (AIP) and MLA Langate Er Rashid along with his party activists was detained near Civil Secretariat here. Rashid was protests against the civilian killings in Shopian. The forces used colour water cannon and took them into custody. Rashid was carrying banners that read: “Kashmiri people live a less secure life than a street dog.” Hundreds of students in Kashmir University held nocturnal protests against the Shopian killings. Reports said that hundreds of students from boys hostel and scholars hostel assembled inside the KU campus and held pro-freedom and anti-government protests. They were chanting slogans against forces. The protests started at around 9:30 pm in the campus. The protesters, reports said marched inside KU campus and when they reached Sir Syed Gate, policemen stopped them. Then they marched back towards hostel, reports said. Reports of complete shutdown were also received from Budgam and Ganderbal districts of central Kashmir. Reports reaching here from Ganderbal said that youth appeared at Srinagar-Leh Highway near Kurhama Lar and pelted stones on vehicles. Minor incidents of stone pelting occurred at Kangan chowk. Elsewhere in the district, life remained out of gear as shops and other business establishments remain shut and thin movement of vehicles was observed on the roads. In the market places at Safapora, Lar, Manigam, Nagbal, Beehama, Duderhama, Tawheed Chowk and Kangan shops remained closed. In Central Kashmir’s Barsoo area of Ganderbal, local news agency CNS said that scores of youth attacked Army convoy with stones and damaged the windowpanes of Army vehicles. Youth pelted stones on civil trucks also which were part of the Army convoy. Reports said that at least 15 vehicles suffered damage while two Army vehicles retreated towards Sumbal. Army exercised restraint and did not retaliate, CNS added. Though no protest demonstrations were reported from Budgam, however a complete shutdown was observed to denounce the Shopian killings. The roads witnessed heavy deployment of forces. Complete shutdown was observed in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district. Army men deployed on upper Gurez-Bandipora road for protection of convoy were engaged in stone pelting by protesting youth. Business establishments and educational institutions across the district remained closed while traffic also remained off the roads except some private vehicles. However, in areas like Kaloosa, Watapora, Aloosa, Arin and Aragam some shops were open and skeletal traffic was also plying. The attendance in government offices was thin as employees could not reach their destinations because of non-availability of public transport. Reports said that scores of youth occupied Barsoo By-pass for the whole day who pelted stones on security vehicles. Peaceful protests were lodged by the people in Main Bandipora town. Protesters marched from Gulshan Chowk to martyrs graveyard in Nusoo. However protests turned violent when scores of youth hurled stones towards Army men who were deployed on roads for protection of convoy. The youth engaged Army men in clashes in Gulshan Chowk. Clashes continued till evening. Before removal of deployment, Army men fired dozens of tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youths. Complete shutdown was observed in Sumbal, Hajin, Naidkhai, Ajas, Aloosa, Kaloosa, Nadihal, Saderkoot and Safapora area of Bandipora. Reports said that early in the morning scores of youth took to streets in main Naidkhai and Hajin towns. Raising pro-freedom slogans, the protesting youth were demanding punishment to CRPF personnel involved in Shopian killings. In response to the Hurriyat (G) call, a complete shutdown was observed in Baramulla town. All the shops were closed and Government offices witnessed thin attendance of employees. Clashes between police and protesting youths were reported at Tehsil road near Sumo Stand and at Khanpora bridge. Police lobbed scores of tear smoke shells to quell the protesting youths during these clashes which continued till evening. Complete shutdown was also observed in Sopore. Shops and other business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. Authorities deployed large numbers of police and CRPF men in the town to thwart any protest. Reports of complete shutdown were also reported from Kupwara district of north Kashmir. SEPARATISTS UNDER HOUSE ARREST: Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani continues to be under house arrest since February this year. Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house arrest today. A spokesman of Hurriyat (M) told Greater Kashmir that policemen cordoned off Mirwaiz’ Nigeen residence Thursday morning and informed him that he can’t move out. “We strongly condemn the police action,” he said.