Curbs on movement of people in Kashmir as separatists call strike


Srinagar, Jun 17: Authorities imposed restrictions on the movement of people in many areas of Kashmir today as a precautionary measure in view of a strike called by the separatists to protest the killing of two civilians allegedly in security forces firing.
Restrictions were imposed in Srinagar, Kulgam and Pulwama districts, officials said.
They said restrictions on the movement of people have been imposed in five police station areas of Srinagar - the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
The police station areas are Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and MR Gunj, the officials said.
They said curbs were imposed in entire Kulgam district as well as in Pulwama town in south Kashmir.
In the other sensitive places in south Kashmir, heavy deployment of security forces has been made to maintain law and order, the officials said.
The authorities have closed all educational institutions in Anantnag and Pulwama districts as a precautionary measure.
University of Kashmir has postponed all examinations scheduled to for today in view of the prevailing situation.
Meanwhile, normal life was affected elsewhere in Kashmir Valley due to the strike called by the separatists against the killing of civilians.
Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut, while public transport was off the roads.
While the separatists - chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, have called for a strike against the civilian killings, the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation had called for a shutdown against the implementation of the proposed Goods and Service Tax in the state.
A day after two civilians fell to bullets near the site of an encounter between militants and security forces, authorities in Kashmir today appealed to the people to stay away from counter-insurgency operation sites.
"The people are appealed to stay away from counter- insurgency operation sites for their own safety," Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, said in a statement here this evening.
Khan said that assembling at the encounter sites is fraught with "danger" as nobody can predict the "trajectory of a bullet and there is also a danger of bullet hitting people after ricocheting".
"People should remain away from such sites to ensure their safety. The loss of precious lives is very painful both for the Government as well as the deceased family," he said.
He appealed to the parents, community elders and prayer leaders to "counsel and advise" youth to stay away from counter-insurgency operation sites.
The appeal came just a day after two youth were killed and several others injured after people tried to obstruct an anti-militancy operation at Arwani village of Anantnag district in south Kashmir.
Three militants including a top commander of the Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit were killed in the day-long encounter.
However, bodies of dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Junaid Ahmad Mattoo and two others were recovered today from the encounter site in Arwani village of South Kashmir.
Besides 24-year-old Mattoo alias 'Jana', the other two bodies were of 18-year-old Adil Mushtaq Mir alias 'Nana' and 20-year-old Nisar Ahmad Wani. All three belong to the banned terror outfit Lashkar.
Hailing from Khudwani village of Kulgam, 24-year-old Mattoo joined militancy in June 2015. He had a meteoric rise within the Lashkar group and was appointed commander for South Kashmir after he gunned down two policemen in broad daylight at Anantnag bus stand in June last year.
While Mir hailed from Frasbal area of Pampore, Wani was from Heff Shremal of Shopian district. Both had joined militancy after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani last year.
Police had laid a cordon around a house in Malik Mohalla in Arwani village at 8 AM yesterday following an intelligence tip off about the presence of three militants there. The first engagement with terrorists took place at 10 AM after which additional forces were rushed to the spot.
By late afternoon, firing had stopped but two houses had caught fire during the encounter. After the fire tenders doused the raging flames, police and other security forces, which were already embattled by stone pelters, began a search operation in the rubble.
The security forces were also fired upon from the crowd that was indulging in stone pelting, police said, adding that the Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were desperate to save Mattoo.
The serach operation was also hampered after six policemen including an officer Feroz Ahmed Dar were gunned down at Achabal area, 20 km south of the encounter site. This act was a revenge by Lashkar-e-Taiba for killing of Mattoo and two others.
During yesterday's encounter, two civilians were also killed. In the morning itself, a civilian identified as Mohammad Ashraf Khar, 34, was killed in the crossfire between the forces and the militants.
Khar, a resident of Kharpora Arwani area, was rushed to the district hospital at Bijbehara where he was declared brought dead, police said.
Ahsan Mushtaq, 15, was also killed after he was hit by bullets near the site of the encounter, the police said.

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