Shutdown In Shopian, Protesters, Police Clash

Shutdown In Shopian, Protesters, Police Clash

24 September 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Police used tear smoke and charged batons to quell protests that rocked South Kashmir town of Shopian that remained shut for 18th consecutive day today. Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads and work in Government offices remained affected due to a strike against the killing of five persons in CRPF firing early this month. Protesters pelted stones at Deputy Commissioner, Shopian Bashir Ahmad Bhat’s office this afternoon which resulted in minor damage to windowpanes of the building. Clashes between the Police and protesters continued till evening. The residents are demanding shifting of CRPF camp from Gagran area, registration of FIR against the CRPF personnel involved in killing of five persons and exgratia relief for the dead. The CRPF killed four persons on September 7 at Gagran Shopian leading to massive protests and imposition of curfew on September 8. However, authorities lifted curfew for few hours but re-imposed it later on September 11 after a school bus driver was killed in security force firing on protesters at Gagran. Police claimed that one of the four people killed in the firing on September 7 was a Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) militant Abdullah Haroon. The Government has appointed District Magistrate (DM), Shopian, Bashir Ahmad Bhat to conduct the inquiry into these killings. Statements of a number of witnesses were recorded by Bhat who has extended the date of recording statements. In the meantime, Baramulla town in North Kashmir observed shutdown for second consecutive day today against the arrests of few youth by police on the charges of stone pelting. Shops and business establishments remained closed while traffic was off the roads. Police had arrested several youth from the town on the charges of stone pelting and enforcing strike in the town. The town had also observed shutdown on yesterday against the arrests of some shop keepers. Scores of youth held a protest demonstration and pelted stones on vehicles and police and CRPF. Additional contingents of police and CRPF were deployed in the town to bring the situation under control. Meanwhile, president of Beopar Mandal of Baramulla said that they called off the strike yesterday evening as all the shopkeepers including Nazir Ahmad Shiekh, Meraj-u-Din War, Farooq Ahmad Wasil, Fasil Ahmad Hashim, Tawseef Mir and Sajad Kakroo were released by police.