Jammu & Kashmir : Normal life in Kashmir came to a standstill on Wednesday due to a shutdown called by separatist leaders against the killing of three civilians in Chadoora area of Budgam district on Tuesday. All shops and other business establishments were shut while railway services remained suspended in view of the prevailing mood in the Valley. The three civilians were in the Chadoora area of central Kashmir after security forces opened fire on protesters. It was reported that the civilians allegedly pelted stones during an encounter between militants and security forces in Budgam district. Protesting against the killing of three civilians, Kashmir was shut down on Wednesday and this raised many possibilities of another prolonged unrest in the valley.
The house in which the militant was holed up was later burnt down by the forces. All the three men, who are believed to be in their 20s succumbed to injuries sustained in firing from the jawans. To prevent further escalation of protests, around 43 personnel of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and 20 police personnel were wounded in the stone-pelting in the Valley on Tuesday.
The Security forces resorted to firing to disperse the protestors. As per media reports separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Mali, have called for a shutdown on Wednesday in protest of the civilian casualties. Reports state that shops, public transport and education institutions remained closed in Srinagar city.
Security was beefed up in the Valley to prevent any untoward incident. The separatist leaders have also called on people to hold protests after Friday prayers against the killings. The killings on Tuesday have triggered an outrage in the valley, leading to another prolonged unrest. The Kashmir Valley has been in a state of extreme unrest after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 last year. The relations between the state and the people are under immense strain wheras there has been an increase in number of encounters between militants and security forces as well.
Since March 10, at least five civilians have been killed by security forces when army chief General Bipin Rawat warned of ‘tough action’ against people trying to disrupt operations by security forces.
Earlier this month, Kashmir observed a complete shutdown in response to a separatist call against the killing of two civilians at Padgampora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on March 10. The gunfight on Tuesday comes just days after two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants were killed in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the killing as an unfortunate incident. She expressed deep anguish and grief over the death of youth at Chadoora. “It is highly painful to see the young boys losing their lives,” she said. Mufti further added saying that the people in Kashmir continue to suffer massive collateral damage due to violence and that it is high time that peaceful means are given a chance for the resolution of the issues.