Separatist shutdown, restrictions cripple Srinagar again

Srinagar, July 18 (Calcutta Tube) A shutdown called by separatists and restrictions imposed by authorities paralysed life in Srinagar Sunday, just a day after a semblance of normalcy was restored after days of strikes and curfew. North Kashmir’s Baramulla town, meanwhile, was tense after a boy allegedly drowned there after being chased by security forces.

The hardline separatist Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani has called for a Valley-wide shutdown Sunday to protest alleged human rights violations by the security forces in Kashmir.

The shutdown is part of the group’s continuing ‘Quit Kashmir’ programme.

‘Restrictions have been imposed in Srinagar’s Old City areas and uptown Maisuma, Batmaloo and Humhama localities to prevent violence,’ a police officer said here.

Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) contingents were moved out early morning to enforce restrictions.

Traffic intersections were blocked with coils of razor-fitted wire in the Old City and in Maisuma and Batmaloo areas. Both vehicular and pedestrian movement has been disallowed by security forces.

Reports of restrictions also came in from north Kashmir Sopore town where police and CRPF personnel have been deployed.

The Kashmir Valley had witnessed normalcy Saturday after 12 days of separatist shutdowns and official restrictions. Hundreds of vehicles were seen on Srinagar roads resulting in traffic jams here.

People came out in large numbers to buy essential items fearing another spell of shutdowns and restrictions.

However, Baramulla town remained tense as residents alleged a Class 7 student, identified as Faizan Ahmad Buhroo, drowned after being chased by security forces. The teenager’s body has not yet been recovered.

Security personnel had reportedly chased a stone-pelting mob at Azadgunj Bridge in Baramulla town Saturday evening. The teenager, who was among the mob, jumped into the river to escape the security forces, reports said.

District Magistrate (Baramulla) Bashir Ahmad Bhat told reporters that the first priority of the administration was to recover the boy’s body.

‘Circumstances leading to the boy drowning would be thoroughly probed once we recover his body,’ Bhat said.

Fourteen civilians have been killed across the Valley since June 11 in incidents of firing by security forces at stone-pelting mobs.

The state government has decided to conduct an independent enquiry into the circumstances leading to the civilian deaths.

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