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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

Sopore civilian death: Shutdown cripples life in Valley

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, June 24, 2014
First Published: 18:37 IST(24/6/2014) | Last Updated: 18:43 IST(24/6/2014)

A day after the civilian death during clashes, north Kashmir’s Sopore remained tense on Tuesday while the normal life was crippled by separatists sponsored shutdown in the Valley against the killing.

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The authorities imposed curfew-like restriction in Sopore, 55 km away from Srinagar, fearing protests after a local youth was killed during clashes with the security forces. No civilian or vehicle was allowed to move on the roads. A huge contingent of security forces manned sensitive localities of Sopore, which witnessed stone throwing till late Monday evening.

The police said it fired when the mob tried to set a police vehicle on fire and swelled beyond control. A local youth, Arshif Ahmad Shah, was killed while four other civilians also received bullet injuries in the action.

Sopore town witnessed violent protests after a gunbattle left a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant dead on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the police have ordered an inquiry into the civilian death. The civilian death triggered sporadic protests in north Kashmir and parts of the old city in Srinagar.

The shutdown call issued by both moderate and hardline Hurriyat chairmen, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Geelani, brought life to a standstill in the valley.

Though the tourist areas remained largely unaffected, the Srinagar city and towns of north and south Kashmir witnessed thin traffic on roads, as private offices, banks, schools and petrol pumps remained closed.

Farooq, who was put under house arrest in his Srinagar residence, condemned the action of security forces against the protesters in Sopore. “The cold-blooded murder of Arshad Ahmad Shah speaks of unbridled powers vested with them. These killings would not stop unless all draconian laws, including Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), are not repealed and security forces made accountable,” said Farooq.

Geelani and his associates were also placed under house arrest.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also criticised the government for the latest casualty. “The security forces should have shown restraint. It’s unfortunate that this government ordered several inquiries into such incidents, but till date no action was taken,” said PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, also member parliament from south Kashmir.

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