Separatists to continue shutdown, Kashmir gunfights toll climbs to 20
Businesses, schools and colleges remained shut in Kashmir on Monday in response to a strike called by the separatists, as the toll from gunfights of a day earlier climbed to 20 after a militant’s body was recovered from an encounter site.
Curfew-like restrictions were in place in parts of Srinagar and south Kashmir and mobile internet services remained suspended for the second day in the Valley, which witnessed one of its bloodiest days in years on Sunday.
Disruptions are expected to continue, with the separatist leadership calling for a shutdown on Tuesday also and a Shopian Chalo march the next day. The Shopian district saw two of the three gun battles between security forces and militants on Sunday.
The gunfights left 12 militants, three soldiers and four civilians dead. More than 70 people were injured in clashes with security forces at two encounter sites.
Locals pulled out the body of a fifth gunman from the rubble of a house in Kachdoora in Shopian on Monday. “The body of Sameer was taken out by the locals from the debris and handed it over to his family,” a police spokesman said, adding all the five men belonged to the homegrown Hizbul Mujahideen. Three army soldiers were also killed in Kachdoora.
In another gunfight in the Shopian district, seven militants were killed in Dragad. In Anantnag’s Dialgam, a militant was killed after he ignored repeated requests by his family and forces to surrender and opened fire. His accomplice, however, gave himself up.
The protests would continue on April 3 and on April 4, the entire “resistance” and Hurriyat leadership would move towards Shopian to express solidarity with the people and offer condolences to the bereaved families, Hurriyat Conference leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said in a statement.
Earlier, Geelani, Farooq and Ashraf Sehrai were put under house arrest while Malik was detained.