In­dian Kash­mir shuts down af­ter mil­i­tant’s death

Schools and col­leges were or­dered closed Shops and banks didn’t open due to sep­a­ratists’ strike

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Sri­na­gar, In­dia - Thou­sands of In­dian po­lice and troops en­forced a lock­down on Wed­nes­day in parts of Kash­mir, fear­ing vi­o­lent reprisals a day af­ter a top mil­i­tant com­man­der and two civil­ians were killed in clashes in the dis­puted Hi­malayan ter­ri­tory.

Res­i­dents in the old quar­ters of Sri­na­gar, the cap­i­tal of Jammu and Kash­mir state, were or­dered to stay in­doors and obey the cur­few as gov­ern­ment forces pa­trolled streets lined with steel bar­ri­ers and ra­zor wire.

“I was not al­lowed by sol­diers to leave home for work. They are right out­side my door,” Gulzar Ahmed, a me­chanic, told AFP by phone from his house in down­town Sri­na­gar.

Schools and col­leges were or­dered shut for a se­cond day to try to avert stu­dent protests, which fre­quently erupt into stone-throw­ing and clashes with troops.

Shops and banks also re­mained shut af­ter three top Kash­miri sep­a­ratist lead­ers called for a strike fol­low­ing the death of Abu Du­jana, a se­nior rebel fighter from the Pak­istan­based mil­i­tant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

His death, her­alded by In­dian forces as ‘a ma­jor achieve­ment’, sparked protests and clashes with gov­ern­ment forces across the Kash­mir Val­ley dur­ing which a young man was killed and scores in­jured.

A se­cond pro­tester died in hos­pi­tal on Wed­nes­day. His fu­neral was at­tended by hun­dreds of mourn­ers who pelted sol­diers with stones, wit­nesses said.

Du­jana’s death has dealt one of the big­gest blows to Kash­miri sep­a­ratists since a charis­matic young com­man­der, Burhan Wani, was shot dead in July last year.

Wani’s killing sparked months of wide­spread protests in the north­ern In­dian state and left nearly 100 civil­ians dead and thou­sands in­jured.

Since then pro­test­ers - some­times en­tire vil­lages - have in­creas­ingly taken to the streets, hurl­ing stones at sol­diers to help mil­i­tants evade cap­ture or death.

I was not al­lowed by sol­diers to leave home for work. They are right out­side my door

Gulzar Ahmed

(AFP)

Para­mil­i­tary troop­ers stand guard as peo­ple walk along a road dur­ing re­stric­tions af­ter seper­atists called for a strike, in Sri­na­gar on Wed­nes­day

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