World Bulletin / News Desk
Indian-held Kashmir has observed a complete shutdown to protest against the killing of a 27-year-old protestor in a shooting involving Indian police.
The protest on Thursday came after Bashir Ahmad Bhat was killed and five others wounded the previous evening when Indian armed personnel opened fire on protesters demonstrating against the ongoing Indian Parliamentary elections in Kashmir, which three-quarters of the Kashmiri population have boycotted.
Amid fears the killing may trigger more protests, the pro-Indian government imposed a curfew in most parts of the old city following the shutdown, which was called for by the IHK’s resistance leadership.
IHK resistance leaders have also asked people to protest again after Friday prayers.
A Section 144, which prohibits the assembly of more than four people in a public place, has also been activated in the city by the government.
Despite the curfew, protests erupted at various places in downtown area of Srinagar and in south Kashmir’s Pulwama and north Kashmir’s Bandipora districts, where people should pro-Independence slogans and threw stones at security forces.
The Indian armed forces used tear smoke canisters to disperse demonstrators and, according to locals, fired in the air. There were no casualties.
Most of the 1.2 million inhabitants of Srinagar stayed inside their houses, leaving the streets empty amid a tense silence.
Public transport was kept off the roads and no businesses or schools were open,
“The situation remained normal throughout Kashmir valley today. However, stray incidents of stone pelting were reported from several places in Srinagar, Pulwama and Bandipora,” the police said in a press release on Thursday evening.
Pro-India political parties cancelled their election rallies in north Kashmir, which will go to polls on May 7, and expressed regret over the killings.
According to Indian Police, restrictions will continue across Kashmir in a bid to scuttle protests planned by separatists for Friday.
P K Singh, the Inspector General of the Central Reserve Police Force in Srinagar, said a court of inquiry had been initiated to find out the causes and circumstances that led to Bhat’s death.
“Police have already started the process of inquiry, but CRPF is doing an internal inquiry on its own. We have directed the inquiry team to submit a report as soon as possible,” Singh told reporters in Srinagar.
Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full.
The two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965 and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.
Since 1989, Kashmiri resistance groups in IHK have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.
More than 70,000 people have reportedly been killed in the conflict so far.Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2014, 10:19