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Kashmir: South Simmers; Centre & North Shut in Shock

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Strike, stone pelting in many parts of Kashmir

A child peddles a bicycle on a deserted Srinagar road in the wake of strike call given by separatists. PHOTO/Javed Khan

Srinagar, Apr 02: With south Kashmir simmering in anger, shocked over the ‘unprecedented’ killings in Shopian and Anantnag, rest of the Kashmir observed a complete shutdown.

Life across Kashmir Valley went out of gear on Monday in wake of strike called by the separatists against the killing of 13 militants and four civilians in south Kashmir yesterday.

Fearing large-scale protests, the authorities had also  imposed restrictions at numerous places across Kashmir. Mobile Internet services continue to remain suspended on second straight day.

Shops and commercial establishments remained closed, while public transport also remained off the roads.

The separatists had called for shutdown in the Valley today.

While the government had ordered closure of all educational institutions on Monday, and now on Tuesday as well, all examinations scheduled for the day were also postponed by all three universities including Kashmir University, Islamic University and Central University.

In Srinagar downtown areas police and paramilitary forces enforced restrictions with barricades placed on main road junctions to curb civilian movement. Restrictions remained in place in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Safakadal, Maharajgunj, Maisuma, Kralkhud and Soura police station areas of the city

The officials said the prohibitory orders have been imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.

Dr Ali Jan Road leading to SKIMS hospital was however kept open and some private vehicles were seen plying on it. Some private vehicles were playing in uptown and Civil Lines areas of the city as well.

Similar reports came in from other districts with south Kashmir districts remaining very tense.

Clashes were also reported from several areas of the Valley while students residing in various hostels of Kashmir University also staged protests on the campus to oppose the varsity’s decision to hold the 13th J&K Science Congress (2018) function despite Shopian civilian killings.

Eye witnesses said that the students assembled outside the convocation complex of the varsity and shouted pro-freedom slogans.

“People are being killed and the university has invited guests from outside the state. They want to show everything is normal here,” said group of agitating students.

The students also offered funeral prayers in absentia for militants and civilians killed during three gunfights in Anantnag and Shopian district yesterday.

Meanwhile, at least 20 protesters were injured in fresh clashes in Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts of south Kashmir today.

Reports and witnesses said that youth angered over yesterday’s killings pelted stones at the government forces deployed there.

The forces responded with pellets and tear gas to disperse the protesters, triggering further clashes.

Reports said that intense clashes erupted in Kulgam district after youth defied curfew-like restrictions  and hurled stones at the forces’ personnel, who responded with aerial firing. However, there was no immediate report of any injuries.

In Shopian, at least a dozen protesters were injured in clashes with the government forces. Reports said that at least four youth with pellet injuries were referred to Srinagar from Sub-District Hospital Shopian.

Four protesters injured in clashes with forces in Seer Hamdan area of Anantnag were brought to the District Hospital for treatment, said a report.

A youth suffered head injury after being chased by the police in Kangan area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district. The incident triggered massive protests in the area.

Reports said a youth, identified as Gowhar Ahmad Rather, was part of a group that had assembled on a roadside in Kangan. “He fell down and suffered an injury after police chased the group,” said a local.

Officials at Trauma Hospital Kangan confirmed that the injured youth was brought to the hospital with a head injury and was subsequently referred to SKIMS Soura for specialized treatment.

Clashes were also reported from some areas of Srinagar. However, there were no reports  of anybody getting injured here.

Complete shut-down was observed in Baramulla, Kupwara, Sopore and Budgam. Some stone pelting incidents were also reported from Sopore.

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