Kashmir observes shutdown to protest civilian killings

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Srinagar, April 2 (IANS) Several protesters were injured in clashes with police south Kashmir on Monday as the Valley observed a complete shutdown in protest against the killings of four civilians in Shopian district during operations against militants on Sunday.

According to witnesses, at least 20 protesters were injured as mobs threw rocks at security forces in Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts of south Kashmir.

Police and paramilitary troopers fired pellets and tear gas to disperse the protesters.

In Srinagar, authorities imposed restrictions in parts of the city to maintain law and order as a separatist leaders had also called for a protest shutdown.

Authorities placed Hurriyat leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Yaseen Malik under house arrest in Srinagar to prevent their participation in the protest.

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Heavy contingents of police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in the restricted areas in Srinagar.

Markets, public transport and other businesses remained shut in the valley.

All educational institutions were closed on Monday and exams scheduled for the day postponed.

Train services between north Kashmir’s Baramulla town and Banihal town were suspended.

Mobile internet services remained suspended in south Kashmir areas while the speed of fixed line broadband connections was reduced drastically to prevent uploading of provocative posts and pictures.

Srinagar traders and manufacturers started a protest march from the city centre Lal Chowk shouting slogans against the unending cycle of violence in the Kashmir Valley.

Police intervened at Polo View area on Residency Road as traders tried to move towards the headquarters of UN Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) in Sonwar area.

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The protest march was dispersed by police and some protesters were taken into preventive custody.

On Sunday, 20 people — 13 militants, four civilians, three soldiers — were killed in the three gunfights that took place in Shopian and Anantnag districts.

Over 60 civilians were injured in clashes with the security forces as protesters resorted to stone pelting near the gunfight sites.

–IANS

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