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Strike disrupts normal life in Kashmir

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A child looks are concertina wires, laid down by Police, in a Srinagar area on Friday as strike called by JRL and restrictions in several areas crippled life in Valley. Photo/Javed Khan

 Srinagar, Oct 12: Normal life in Kashmir was affected Friday due to a strike called by separatists after the killing of PhD scholar-turned-Hizbul Mujahideen commander Manan Bashir Wani in an encounter with government forces.

Schools, higher educational institutions, shops and business establishments remained closed due to the strike called by the Joint Resistance Leadership comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

Public transport remained off the roads in most places but few private vehicles could be seen plying in the city. Roadside vendors in Civil Lines areas of uptown Srinagar also went about their business as usual. Kashmir University had also ordered suspension of class-work at all its campuses.

The separatists called for a shutdown after Wani and his associate Ashiq Hussain Zargar were killed in a gunbattle with government forces in Handwara area of Kupwara district on Thursday.

Strict restrictions were imposed in Lolab area and Kupwara town to prevent any protests against the killing of Wani who hailed from Tikipora village of the region.

Reports of complete shutdown were also received from other districts of the valley.

Wani was enrolled as a PhD scholar with the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) before joining Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit in January earlier this year.

Complete shutdown was also observed in highway town of Banihal in Ramban district to pay homage to Wani.

All shops and other business establishments remained closed in Banihal town, and Gundadalkoot, Charil, Tethar and Nowgam markets located on Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Authorities also imposed restrictions in downtown Srinagar, including in the Nowhatta area to prevent people from offering congregational Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid.

Taking to Twitter, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the “repression of New Delhi has pushed Kashmiri youth to armed resistance and a cycle of death and loss.”

“Even as Kashmir shuts to mourn scholar shaheed Mananwani, downtown under strict curfew prayers at Jamia Masjid again barred for the 15th Friday this year while arbitrary arrests PSAs on activists, suspension of Kashmiri students from universities, repeated closure of colleges and universities to disallow dissent continues unabated. This repression coupled with intransigence of Govt of India pushes young boys to armed resistance and a cycle of death and loss,” Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter.

Meanwhile, funeral prayers in absentia were held for Wani in Anantnag town of south Kashmir.

Reports said that scores of people assembled after Friday prayers and offered funeral prayers for Wani and his associate killed in a gunfight in Kupwara district yesterday.

Even as the authorities claimed that the situation across the Valley remained peaceful, but there were clashes at a few places in the city and the towns.

Intense clashes rocked Soura area in the city outskirts, with police and paramilitary forces using tear-gas on stone-pelting mobs. Clashes in the area continued for hours.

Clashes also erupted in parts of Kupwara district, including Tekkipora – native village of Wani – after congregational Friday prayers.

Reports said that youth took to streets in Sogam, Tekkipora, Kupwara main market and Regipora areas of the district to protest the killing of Wani and his aide in a gunfight yesterday.

They said that the forces deployed in strength in the area fired tear-gas to foil the protests.

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