Kashmir Valley shuts down, authorities brace for protests (Roundup)

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Srinagar, Aug 2 (IANS) A young man injured in clashes with security forces in Jammu and Kashmir during protests after the killing of Pakistani militant Abu Dujana died on Wednesday as the Kashmir Valley shut down in response to a call by separatists.

Life came to a virtual halt in Srinagar and most parts of the Valley as both factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front called the protest against the targeting of civilians post Dujana’s killing.

Coupled with curfew-like restrictions, the shutdown crippled traffic on the roads while shops, businesses and educational institutions were shut all across the Valley.

Fearing more street protests, authorities ordered leading educational institutions in Srinagar to remain closed on Thursday even as mobile Internet services were restored on Wednesday evening after being suspended for a day.

Akeel Ahmad Bhat, injured in Tuesday’s protests, succumbed to his wounds at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here on Wednesday.

Bhat belonged to Haal village in Shopian district and suffered a bullet injury when protesters clashed with security forces after Lashkar-e-Taiba Divisional Commander Dujana and a local associate, Arif Lalihaari, were killed by security forces on Tuesday morning.

Another youth, Firdous Ahmad, also died on Tuesday after being hit by a bullet during street protests in Pulwama district where Dujana and Arif died.

Another protester who too suffered gunshot wounds is still in a Srinagar hospital.

Earlier, authorities imposed restrictions, shut educational institutions, blocked Internet services and suspended rail services fearing protests in the Kashmir Valley following Dujana’s killing.

The restrictions were imposed in areas falling in the jurisdiction of five police stations of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal and M.R. Gunj in Srinagar.

Abu Dujana, a 28-year old resident of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, had been active in Jammu and Kashmir since 2012. He carried a reward of Rs 15 lakh on his head.

On Tuesday, students of three colleges in Srinagar took to the streets shouting pro-Islam and pro-freedom slogans. Similar protests were reported from Badgam, Handwara and Bandipora towns.

The Kashmir University and Islamic University of Science and Technology cancelled all their exams on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday told the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi to claim Dujana’s body.

“If they don’t claim his body, we will give him a proper burial,” Inspector General of Police Munir Khan said.

Police refused to hand over Dujana’s body to civilians for burial. Khan said “there was no reason to hand over the body of somebody to locals who did not belong to the Kashmir Valley”.

Meanwhile, hundreds attended the burial of Arif Lalihaari killed in Lalihaar village of Pulwama district on Tuesday evening.

–IANS

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