Shutdown in Kashmir over 'killing' of youth

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 28, 2012 08:25 hrs

Amid intermittent clashes between stone pelting protestors and the security forces in Bandipora, complete shutdown is being observed on Saturday in Kashmir, to protest against the recent "custodial killing" of a youth by Indian troops in North Kashmir's Bandipora district, 55 kilometers away from capital city Srinagar.

Life came to stand still in Srinagar and in other major towns of the valley on Saturday.

Call for the shutdown has been given by the Hurriyat hawk, Syed Ali Shah Gilani and was supported by the High Court Bar Association of Kashmir to protest the killing of 19-year-old, cement factory worker Hilal Ahmad Dar in Aloosa village of north Kashmir Bandipora district by the Army on Tuesday.

Hilal Ahmed Dar, according to people, had left his village mosque after the Ramadan evening prayers (Tarawi) when he was killed in cold blood by the army in a firing incident Tuesday.

Public transport, petrol pumps, shops, colleges and universities and other commercial institutions remained closed all over Kashmir including the Bandipora which remained tense for the fourth consecutive day.

However in certain areas of Srinagar like Jawahar Nagar, Rajbagh, Sonawar, Dalgate some private transport kept on plying on the city roads.

Though the Army termed Hilal as an armed militant and claimed that a weapon was recovered from him but that claim was denounced by the victim's father Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Dar and the residents of Aloosa village.

"My son was innocent who used to work in a cement factory in the outskirts of Srinagar. He was never involved in militancy," he told IBNS.

One of his relative said that during the hay days of militancy, Hilal was a kid who barely knew about the happenings and other developments that were going on in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, authorities placed the All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and other Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Shah Gilani, Agha Syed Hassan Al-Moosvi, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabbir Ahmed Shah under house arrest to prevent them from visiting Bandipora and express solidarity with the family of the slain youth.

Defence minister A K Antony, who is visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, along with the defence secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Army chief General Bikram Singh, has already ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Due to his visit, police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been deployed in full riot gear across Kashmir to maintain law and order.

Bandipora District is continued to be tense on the fourth consecutive day.

According to reports, youths at DC office, Main Chowk and Pap Chhan pelted stones on deployed police and paramilitary personnel.

Youths burned tyres on roads and raised anti-India and anti-army slogans.

District Magistrate Bandipora, Manzoor Ahmed Lone admitted that youths are trying to disrupt the peace in district.

"Some youths came on roads and pelted stones on police and security personnel. However, such incidents do take place in tense atmosphere. Situation is under control," DC Bandipora told IBNS.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police (SP), Bandipora, Bashir Ahmed Khan told IBNS that no stone pelting incident occurred in district and the situation is totally calm and under control.

"Situation is tense but under control. Complete shut down has disrupted life and people are staying indoors." SP Bandipora said.

So far, no untoward incident has been reported from Srinagar city.

(Reporting by Neyaz Elahi)

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