December 2017 News

Kashmir Shuts Against Civilian Killings

20 December 2017
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Kashmir on Wednesday observed a complete shutdown against the 'fresh spree' of civilian killings by government forces, even as the police imposed curfew-like restrictions in several Srinagar areas to thwart any pro-freedom protests. The call for shutdown was given by the joint resistance leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, a day after a woman was killed during a gunfight in which two militants, including a local, also died. All government and private institutions across Kashmir remained closed while traffic was largely off the roads. Thin movement of traffic, mostly private, was however observed in some areas of uptown Srinagar during the day. Reports received from various district headquarters in Kashmir also said that a complete shutdown was observed there while traffic was completely off the roads. In the past eight days, at least three civilians, including two women, were killed in action by government forces in Kashmir areas, triggering massive protests and condemnations. In Shopian, a witness said, hundreds of people could be seen marching towards the house of slain Jaish-e-Muhammad militant Tanvir Ahmed Bhat and also towards the residence of Ruby Jan alias 'Beauty' who was killed during the gunfight in Batmuran village on Tuesday morning. Tanvir was killed in the same gunfight along with a Pakistani associate. 'Ruby Jan left behind her 11-month-old daughter Zaira. Every mourner was kissing her face and then crying loudly. There were emotional scenes at the house where a small tent was erected for the mourners,' said Lateef Ahmed, a local resident. On December 11, Misra Bano of Handwara was killed during a gunfight, following which 28-year-old Asif Iqbal Bhat of Thundipora Kupwara was killed by the army 'during a late night ambush.' Majority of areas in Downtown Srinagar on Wednesday remained under tight curfew amid heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces to foil possible protests by youth. A witness said that curfew remained in place in Rainawari, Nowhatta, Mahraj Gunj and Safa Kadal areas, while partial restrictions were imposed in Maisuma and Kralkhud areas also. Meanwhile, chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continued to remain under house detention at his Nigeen residence here. Taking to his twitter handle to condemn the killing of Ruby Jan, the mother of 11-month-old Zaira, the Mirwaiz wrote: 'Infants losing young mothers to operation 'All Out'! Occupation and Repression at its worst, while those in India and world over claiming to stand up for safeguarding human values and rights callously unconcerned and mute!' Member of legislative assembly from Langate, Er Abdur Rashid was detained by the police on way to Shopian on Wednesday. Rashid's Awami Itehad Party had planned a protest march against the killing of Ruby Jan at her native village. 'Rashid was detained by the police and later lodged at police station Rajbagh,' a statement issued by the AIP said. It said that the government has 'lost the moral battle' and is 'ruling only through the barrel of gun.' 'The claims of police officials that people are themselves responsible for the incidents claiming human lives by protesting at the gunfight sites, prove the fact that militants enjoy a popular support,' he said.