The Kashmir valley observed a complete shutdown Friday, a day after PhD scholar-turned-militant Mannan Wani and his associate were killed in a pre-dawn encounter in north Kashmir’s Handwara. The call for shutdown had been given by the joint separatist leadership.
Shops and business units remained closed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley, with traffic remaining off the roads. There was a huge presence of security personnel in parts of Srinagar city. Educational institutions and colleges also remained shut. The previous day, authorities in a few districts, fearing protests by students, had ordered the closure of schools and colleges as ” “precautionary measure”.
In Srinanar’s old city, curfew-like restrictions were imposed and the authorities didn’t allow Friday prayers to be held at the Jamia Masjid. In Kupwara district of North Kashmir – where Wani hailed from – clashes broke out between security personnel and stone-throwing youth.
According to health officials, at least 20 people who were injured in the clashes were received at different government health facilities. Most of them were civilians and the injured also included some police personnel. At Sub District Hospital in Sogam of Kupwara district, officials said that they received 12 injured cases. The injured people were brought in Langate and Kupwara SDH health facilities as well
A senior health official said many had sustained pellet injuries. Railways authorities also suspended train services in the valley on Friday due to security reasons. “The service will resume again on Saturday,” a senior railway official in Srinagar told The Indian Express.
Hurriyat (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tweeted, “Even as #Kashmir shuts to mourn scholar #ShaheedMananWani, Downtown under strict curfew, prayers at #JamaMasjid again barred for the 15th Friday this year while arbitrary arrests PSAs on activists. this repression coupled with intransigence of Govt of India pushes young boys to armed resistance and a cycle of death and”loss.”
The killing of Wani, who had left Aligarh Muslim University to join militant ranks in January, has been seen as a setback to Hizbul Mujahideen, as the security establishment in the Valley feared he could attract more educated youngsters to militancy with his writings.