Srinagar: Kashmir was tense on Monday amid security clampdown being enforced in sensitive parts of the Valley, including summer capital Srinagar and a shutdown called by separatists elsewhere over Sunday’s killings.
More than thirty people were injured in fresh clashes in southern Shopian where twelve militants had been gunned down by security forces in two separate encounters on Sunday. Three soldiers also laid down their lives while fighting militants holed up in private houses in Dragad and Kachdoora villages of the district. One militant was killed in neighbouring Anantnag.
Four civilians also died, three of them in security forces firing on protesters and stone-pelting mobs. One resident was caught in cross fire between the militants and security forces earlier, raising the death toll to 20. His family had alleged that he was used as a “human shield’ by troops.
Reports from Shopian said that several protesters sustained injuries in shotgun pellet firing by the security forces in the town’s Gol Chowk area on Monday. The police said that surging crowds resorted to heavy stone-pelting on security forces “compelling them to use force”.
The paramilitary forces along with J&K police personnel were fanned out overnight to enforce curfew or curfew like restrictions in sensitive parts of Srinagar, southern Kulgam town and some other parts o the restive Valley.
They had laid steel barricades and coiled razor wire on roads and intersections to cut off neighbourhood in anticipation of widespread protests. At places in Srinagar ‘bunker vehicles’ of the security forces were seen placed in the middle of roads to block access to the centre square of the city.
Elsewhere, a shutdown called by ‘Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL),’ an alliance of key separatist leaders, brought life to a standstill. A report from Jammu said that strike was observed also in the highway town of Banihal and some other Muslim-majority pockets of Chenab valley of the region against the killings.
The police detained a large group of Kashmiri traders in Srinagar as they began marching on the summer headquarters of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Srinagar from the City centre to protest against the civilian killings. .
Earlier opposition Awami Itehad Party (AIP) leader and lawmaker Engineer Sheikh Abdur Rashid also along with his party activists held a protest against Sunday’s incidents.
Kashmir University students also held a protest on the campus in Srinagar’s Hazratbal area. They were angry also over the University authorities’ decision to hold the 13th J&K Science Congress (2018) event in view of killings. The students from various hostels of the University gathered outside the convocation complex and began chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. They questioned the timing of the function in which Governor, N.N Vohra, who is also the Chancellor of the University, was scheduled to participate along with Minister for Education Syed Altaf Bukhari.