A strike call by separatists led to a shutdown in Kashmir valley on Thursday, a day after security forces killed two militants, Mehraj-ud-Din Bangroo and Fahad Mushtaq Waza, in an encounter in which a civilian, Rayees Ahmad, also lost his life.
Educational institutions and business establishments were closed, public transport remained off the roads and government offices witnessed extremely thin attendance. Mobile internet and train services were suspended as well.
Security forces were deployed on all major roads and barricades were erected for frisking and checking of all private vehicles plying on the roads. The government also imposed restrictions in parts of old Srinagar city, where the militants had been killed on Wednesday.
The joint Hurriyat leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, which had given the call for the strike, urged people to protest on Friday as well.
Meanwhile, security forces killed militant Showkat Ahmad Bhat in an encounter in Kakapora area of Pulwama in southern Kashmir on Thursday. Bhat, who was a B Pharmacy student at Kashmir University, was reportedly involved in a grenade attack in which three policemen had been injured in Baramulla district. The police said some arms and ammunition were recovered from his possession.
A large number of people including militants reportedly attended Bhat’s funeral. Hurriyat leader Geelani also addressed a funeral gathering of Bhat over the phone. “There should be an impartial investigations under War Crimes Tribunal of the United Nations against the forces involved in the custodial killing of the innocent youth,” he said. “J&K has become the most militarised zone in the world and troops have been involved in the killing of innocent people under the garb of AFSPA (Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act).”