Life continued to remain out of gear in Kashmir on Thursday due to separatists’ shutdown call and curfew imposed by the authorities. Three protesters were severely injured as sporadic demonstrations were reported from several localities in Srinagar, south and north Kashmir.
Schools, colleges, banks, most government offices, shops and private establishments remained closed on the 74th day in response to the shutdown call issued by the hard-line All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
From June 11 to August 26, a week of working days was allowed by the separatists, who are protesting against 63 deaths allegedly in police action and propagating “Quit Kashmir” campaign.
Srinagar’s Soura area continued to be tense and volatile for second consecutive day on Thursday. A 17-year-old boy, Omar Qayoom, died in a hospital on Wednesday after allegedly being tortured in police custody for two days.
Two protesters were injured when the police and paramilitary CRPF shelled a group of protesters with tear-smoke canisters to quell them near Soura’s Anchar area in the afternoon. The injured protesters, who were identified as Irfan Bhat and Zahoor Ahmad, were admitted to a nearby hospital.
One more boy, Nayeeem Ahmad Paul, an employee with a private automobile company, was hit in the face by a tear-smoke shell when police hurled shells to disperse a protest in uptown Srinagar’s Barzulla area. “Paul is stable in the hospital,” said a police spokesman.
A protest broke out in the area in the afternoon against the security forces that had rounded up two boys on Wednesday evening from the area.
“Two teenagers, Owais Ahmad and Younis Ahmad, were arrested by the police on Wednesaday when they chased a group of protesters. While chasing the protesters, the police barged into a house and picked the two boys while they were playing carrom. They are innocent,” alleged Nissar Ahmad, a Barazulla resident. Separatist leader Geelani also led a protest in Srinagar's Hyderpora area after the noon prayers.
There was a curfew in place in Srinagar’s eight police stations and in a few major towns in south and north Kashmir to keep protesters at bay.
“Police used a mild baton charge to disperse a mob of stone throwers at in Anantnag’s Sangam area,” said the police spokesman. Anatnag is in south Kashmir, 65 km away from Srinagar.
The spokesman said miscreants also pelted stones at the Police Station Sopore in north Kashmir this afternoon. “The mob was chased out by the police,” said the spokesman.