Zahid’s Killing: State Reacts sans Jammu

Riyaz Ul Khaliq/Naseer Khora

SRINAGAR/DODA

A View of Deserted Clock tower Lal Chowk during authorities imposed restrictions as a precautionary measure following the death of a truck, who was injured in a petrol bomb attack at Udhampur in Jammu region on October 9. KL Image by: BILAL BAHADUR
A View of Deserted Lal Chowk.  KL Image by: BILAL BAHADUR

Following the death of Zahid Rasool Bhat, one of the victims of Udhampur Hindu communal mob attack, state of Jammu and Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on Monday.

Business establishments, schools, colleges and transport observed a complete shutdown across State, however, no such report poured in from Jammu district.

Funeral of Zahid Rasool Bhat in Botengo, Islamabad.
Funeral of Zahid Rasool Bhat in Botengo, Islamabad.

Attendance in government departments was registered very thin while University of Kashmir, BOSE postponed their examinations which were scheduled for today while Islamic University of Science and Technology postponed its “much awaited” debut convocation.

Clashes in South Kashmir's Botengo on Monday.
Clashes in South Kashmir’s Botengo on Monday.

Zahid Rasool Bhat battled for life over a week in Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi after a communal Hindu mob set him and other trucker, Showkat Ahmad, afire in the intervening night of 09/10 early this month. Zahid, Showkat and driver, Rameez were on way home from New Delhi when they decided to stop for the night to rest at Shivpora in Udhampur. As the sleep befell the trio, stones and sticks started hitting the truck and in a while, a petrol bomb, landed inside the front part of truck where they were sleeping.

Protests in Doda.
Protests in Doda.

Rameez managed to give the mad mob a slip but fate had something other for Showkat and Zahid. Zahid received 70% burn injuries. He and Showkat had to be airlifted to New Delhi for specialised treatment but doctors had said, “Zahid is critical”.  And on Sunday forenoon, he breathed his last. His coffin was received by PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti along with Dr Haseeb A Drabu and Basharat Bukhari.

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Separatists across the ideological differences called for a complete shutdown against the death. Trade supported the call while asking PDP patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to resign step down from the government.

Protests rocked South Kashmir’s Islamabad as Zahid Rasool Bhat was laid to rest early Monday. Pitched battles were fought between forces and youth and anti-India and pro-freedom slogans were raised. Authorities had imposed restrictions in several Srinagar police stations. However, no protest demonstration was reported from any city area. Syed Ali Geelani continues to be under house detention while Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan and Muhammad Yasin Malik were detained.

Reports of shutdown were received from North and central Kashmir districts.

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The effect of Zahid’s killing crossed Banihal tunnel with Chenab valley observing shutdown and holding protests.

On the call of Anjuman Islamia Doda and amid heavy rainfall, thousands of people staged protests in Doda and Kishtwar Districts and Banihal town of the Chenab valley against the killing of a Kashmiri trucker by the Hindu fanatics in Udhampur District.

Despite rains lashing plains, thousands of people from different walks of life hit the streets in the three major towns of the Chenab valley region and staged peaceful demonstrations denouncing the killing of Zahid Rasool Bhat.

A view of shutdown in Doda.
A view of shutdown in Doda.

Shouting slogans and carrying placards like “May Allah SWT accept martyrdom of Zahid, Hang killers of Zahid, Ban RSS, Save Humanity, and Stop Saffron Terrorism,” the protesters demanded that stern action against those who were behind this inhuman act.

Speaking on the occasion, President Anjuman Islamia Doda Adv Hassan Babar strongly condemned the death of Zahid Rasool Bhat of Islamabad District.

Adv Babar said, “death of this Muslim innocent youth is unfortunate and commendable and the perpetrators of such violent and murderous attack must be punished as per law so that such happenings may not take birth in future.”

All the shops, business establishments and schools remained closed today besides deserted looks were witnessed in government offices with thin attendance.

The protesters passed through different places before dispersing peacefully.

In Banihal, angry protesters burnt tyres on Srinagar-Jammu highway to register their anger against the killing.

Meanwhile protest and bandh was also observed in Thathri, Gandoh, Kishtwar, Gool, Bhaderwah and other major parts of the Chenab valley region.

The authorities had to stop transport plying on Srinagar-Jammu highway due to “security reasons”.

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