Separatist shutdown over killings affects life in Valley

Srinagar, July 1 (IANS) Life across the Kashmir Valley was affected Monday by a separatist shutdown called to protest the alleged killing of two people by security forces in north Kashmir’s Bandipora a day ago.

Educational institutions, markets, other businesses and public transport remained suspended in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley because of the shutdown.

Private transporters are running skeletal services on city roads and in some other places in the Valley Monday. Government offices, post offices and banks functioned normally, despite the shutdown call.

Meanwhile, the annual Amarnath Yatra which started June 28 proceeded normally from both the south and north Kashmir routes.

Around 7,000 pilgrims were allowed by the authorities to proceed from north Kashmir Baltal base camp, and an equal number from the south Kashmir Nunwan (Pahalgam) base camp towards the cave shrine Monday.

An 18-year-old student, Irfan Nabi Ganai, was killed in Markundal village of Bandipora district Sunday morning. Locals alleged that the counter-insurgency Rashtriya Rifles troopers were involved in the killing. The boy had only emerged from his house at around 3.30 a.m. after rumours spread of thieves on the prowl in the village.

One person was killed in firing by security forces on a stone-pelting mob that was carrying the body of the slain student.

The police has registered a murder FIR in the incident. The government has ordered Director General of Police Ashok Prasad to personally supervise the investigations.

The army, on its part, said a probe had been ordered and anyone found guilty would be punished.

Major General R.R. Nimbhorkar, general officer commanding of the army’s Victor Force, told a media conference Sunday that the army condoled the death of the two people. He said that if any troopers are found guilty, they would be punished.

The condemnation of the killing of two innocent people has been widespread – the ruling National Conference, the opposition People’s Democratic Party and the Congress have all condoled the death of the two people and blamed the army for the firing incident.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who was to give away prizes to winners of the Mughal Road Car Rally Sunday, cancelled the appointment following the tragic incident.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in the city to maintain law and order. Except for the areas in north Kashmir where the incident occurred, no restrictions on traffic and pedestrian movement have been ordered.

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