Protests, clashes rock Kashmir to protest killing of Shopian student

Srinagar

Normal life across Kashmir was paralyzed on Friday due to a shutdown called by the Valley’s joint resistance leadership against killing of a civilian in alleged army firing in South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.

Adil Farooq Magray, a resident of Gonowpora Shopian was killed in Forces firing after protesters allegedly disrupted a search operation launched by Government Forces to flush out militants.

The shutdown against Adil’s killing was called by joint resistance leadership including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Shops and other business establishments across Kashmir were closed and public transport was mostly off the roads. However, skeletal movement of private vehicles, three-wheelers and police vehicles were seen on Srinagar roads. The inter-district transport did not ply on the roads.

A view of clashes in Sopore town. KL Image/Muhammad Abu Bakar

Curfew-like restrictions had been imposed to prevent protests and pro-freedom marches. The areas falling under the jurisdiction of Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar, M.R.Gunj, Kralkhud, Maisuma and Safa Kadal police stations had been sealed by authorities while restrictions under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) were also imposed in the district headquarters of Islamabad, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Baramulla, Badgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora and Kupwara.

While senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani continued to remain under house arrest, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was also placed under house arrest on Friday. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Yasin Malik appeared at Iqra Masjid Sarai Bal and led a protest march. However, police swung into action and detained Malik when he tried to proceed towards city centre Lal Chowk. The detention of Malik sparked protests and clashes while police lobbed tear-smoke shells to disperse them.

A KL File Image of clashes in Islamabad. Bilal Bhadur

Earlier while talking to reporters, Muhammad Yasin Malik asked local policemen to desist from harassing people. Malik who confronted with policemen during his march said that local cops have crossed all limits and have set new records of tyranny. “These cops even searched the Gowkadal Masjid to nab me. My message to these cops is not to force us to name and shame you,” Malik said.

Authorities also closed all gates of Jamia Masjid Srinagar and sealed all routes leading to the historical mosque to prevent people from gathering for weekly congregational prayers in view of call for protests by the joint resistance leadership.

All roads leading to the mosque in Nowhatta were sealed with rolls of concertina wires while the gates of the mosque, where Hurriyat (M) chairman and chief cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addresses the faithful. Mirwaiz was placed under house detention last evening.

A file image of clashes in Srinagar

Government authorities said they had made elaborate security arrangements in Srinagar and other towns to thwart any protest demonstrations.

In several old Srinagar areas, police and CRPF personnel were seen manning lanes and by-lanes. In uptown areas, police and paramilitary forces were deployed at “sensitive” places.

Protest and stray incidents of stone-pelting were reported from different parts of Srinagar city including Soura, Noorbagh, Qamarwari, Batamaloo and other parts.

Protests and clashes were also reported from other districts of Kashmir valley including Pulwama, Bandipora, Shopian and Islamabad.

Clashes erupted between youth and government forces when scores of youth assembled in Hajin chowk soon after culmination of Friday prayers and pelted the forces with stones.The forces responded by firing tear smoke shells, triggering clashes.

Meanwhile, the residents of Ajas village offered funeral prayers in absentia for Adil Farooq Magrey. Scores of people gathered in the lawns of central Jamia Masjid Ajas and offered prayers for the slain youth.

Train services between Baramulla and Bannihal town were suspended.

KL File image of protests in Shopian

Reports said that Shopian town remained  shut on third consecutive day Friday against the killing of Adil Farooq.

Strict restrictions were imposed in major parts of town while heavy deployment of Police, SOG and CRPF was deployed near Hospital Road, Goal chowk, old bus stand, Four way, Bonbazar, Shirmal and Memider areas of the district.

Minor stone pelting was witnessed in Memender area of the district.

Protests erupted in Tral area also against the civilian killing. Reports said that as soon as Friday prayers ended at Khankah Faiz Panah, youth took out a protest rally and marched towards the bus stand Tral.

Reacting over the Kashmir situation that prevailed on Friday, a police official said that barring  five stray incidents of stone pelting, situation across the valley remained peaceful and under control till filing of this report.

The police official said that after Friday prayers, these stone pelting incidents were reported from Memender, near Mini-Secretariat in Shopian, near Reshmoual Sahib Shrine in Islamabad, Near Jamia Masjid in Kupwara and at main Chowk Sopore.

“At these places miscreants in their attempt to disrupt the situation pelted stones on police and security forces deployment. The deployment used maximum restraint and chased the miscreants away.”

“Near Reshmoul Sahib a boy identified as Faizan Ahmad Sheikh son of Gul Mohammad a resident of S.K Colony Islamabad received stone injury on his right eye.  He was shifted to SMHS, Hospital Srinagar where his condition is said to be stable,” the official claimed. (CNS)

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