Protests hit normal life, business in Kashmir


Srinagar : In a grim reminder of last summer’s agitation, normal life and business continued to remain still for the third day Wednesday in Kashmir, as protests against the alleged rape and murder of two women last week showed no let up.

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Roads were deserted, shops and schools remained shut and strict restrictions continued as people in many areas of the summer capital took to the streets demanding action against the security forces allegedly involved in the rape and murder of Neelofar Jan, 22 and her kin Asiya Jan, 17. The women were found dead Saturday in a field near their house in the south Kashmir Shopian town, 60 km from here.

Security forces have erected barricades on many roads to curtail vehicular and pedestrian movement and to prevent people from protesting.

People in uptown areas of Srinagar protested shouting anti-government slogans even as paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in large numbers this morning to enforce curfew like restrictions.

Police used tear smoke and baton charged the protestors, who were also demanding the revocation of special powers given to armed forces in the wake of Jammu and Kashmir being a disturbed area.

The protestors threw stones at police and CRPF at various places and a group of youth burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in city centre Lal Chowk.

At least six protestors were injured in clashes with security forces.

Tension in the city and other towns of the valley was palpable on the third day of the general strike called by separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

Geelani and other separatist leaders have been placed under house arrest.

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti accompanied by party leaders and activists left for Shopian in the morning after her overnight release.

Mehbooba was detained by the police while leading a protest march against the alleged crime that has triggered massive protests like the valley witnessed last year in June-July during the Amarnath land row agitation.

The state government has announced a judicial probe into the Shopian incident to be conducted by a retired high court judge.