Kashmir Shut Down In Protest Against Civilian Killing
SRINAGAR: Kashmir Valley is observing a complete shutdown today following the “cold blooded” killing of a young civilian in the capital Srinagar yesterday which prompted the Hurriyat to call for protests post Friday prayers.
Authorities detained veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at their residences while the JKLF chief Yasin Malik was arrested from his home this morning.
The move comes after the Hurriyat trio called for protests and shutdown today against the killing of Saleem Malik, 26, who was shot dead in the courtyard of his residence in downtown Srinagar.
The family of Saleem, who made school bags and also raised animals for a living, said he had walked out of home to check his livestock that is kept in a temporary shelter outside their home when he was shot.
Government forces had launched a ‘cordon and search operation’ in Qamarwari locality when the incident took place, “Moments after he left, some gunshots rang in the air. Out of fear, we didn’t come out for some time. Then we saw his body laying in a pool of blood in the courtyard,” Mehraj-ud-Din, elder brother of Saleem, said.
“He was not only my younger brother but a friend too. My brother never harmed anyone. He was a cheerful fellow. His perpetrators will rot in this world for killing an innocent person,” he added.
The killing prompted spontaneous shutdown in parts of Srinagar city with the authorities clamping down curfew in downtown areas to prevent protests from spreading while mobile internet was also suspended.
However, while the mobile internet has been restored, restrictions remain imposed in Srinagar with the authorities locking down the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta locality where Mirwaiz delivers Friday sermons.
Following the Hurriyat’s strike call, a complete shutdown is being observed in Srinagar where all shops, business establishments and educational institutions are closed in Lal Chowk, the largest marketplace of the Valley. Public transport also remains off road.
Shutdown is also being observed in other parts of the Valley including Anantnag, Budgam, Kulgam and other districts where authorities have deployed additional security personnel in riot gear to prevent any protests.
The Peoples Democratic Party as well as the National Conference have called for an impartial probe into the killing. However, the state government, headed by Governor S P Malik, has not answered their call so far.
(Cover Photograph BASIT ZARGAR)