A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir valley on Sunday to mourn the civilian and militant killings in Sirnoo village of Pulwama district of south Kashmir on Saturday .
All shops and other business establishments were closed in the Valley while public transport was off the road. Restrictions were imposed by the authorities in parts of Srinagar and Section 144 was imposed in Pulwama in south Kashmir, while train services were also suspended.
Huge deployments of forces were put in place in south Kashmir and the downtown area of Srinagar to foil any protests by the separatists .
Joint Resistance Leadership had called for three days shutdown against the killing of a seven civilians and three militants in a gunfight in Pulwama village on Saturday .
Pertinently, Seven civilians were killed and over three dozen injured Saturday when government forces fired at anti-India protesters following a gunbattle that left three militants and a soldier dead.
Residents accused troops of directly spraying gunfire into the crowds and killing at least two civilians, including a teenage student, away from the site of battle.
“We have read in history about the heinous crimes of “Changez and Halako”, but the “repression” we are subjected to have surpassed them as well, said chairman Hurriyat (G) Conference, Syed Ali Geelani, while condemning the Sirnoo Pulwama “massacre” in which seven civilians and three militants were killed and more than “100” persons got injured by the pallets and bullets at the hands of government forces.
The octogenarian leader’s spokesman said that even the brutalities have a limit, but the atrocities being committed on people seems to have no end. Every sect is crushed; every house stands testimony to the violence, every village and town bears the imprint and impression of the men in uniform.
Hurriyat chairman said that Delhi claims to have the brave and disciplined army of the world, but in reality, they are so weak. They try test their muscles and “arsenal” on the peaceful protestors who are just demanding their basic and fundamental right, right to self-determination promised by their own leaders.
He questioned the so-called champions of the “Humanity and Democracy” that is this your humanity to use deadly weaponry against peaceful people? Everywhere there are protests, even violent but nowhere in the world nor in India itself they are showered bullets and pallets, but we being Muslims fighting for our rights here, every tool of state terrorism, bullets, pallets, arrests, killings, rapes and harassments all are legalized and justified in grab of national security, he added.
While as, the Army on Sunday asked the people not to pay heed to the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) call for a march to Badami Bagh army cantonment on Monday.
In a statement, Army spokesman said that forces make every attempt to avoid any loss of civilian lives in “cross-fire and minimise collateral damage” to property.
“Loss of any civilian life is always painful for the Security Forces. However, the vested interests are continuously at work to instigate and mobilise gullible youths to encounter sites,” the spokesman said.
The Army condemned the JRL call and advised people not to fall prey to such designs of “anti-national” forces.
“Indian Army is always with the people of Kashmir and would foil all such evil attempts of militant-separatist-Pakistan nexus to pit the civilian population against the forces,” the spokesman said
“The public is once again advised not to pay heed to this misleading call by JRL,” the spokesman added .
Abid Hussain Lone, an MBA pass out from a university in Indonesia was also killed in forces action when he was outside his home, the killed civilian Abid Hussain Lone had also married in Indonesia and had three months old baby. Abid had returned home last year along with his wife from Indonesia.
Besides Abid, six youth were killed during clashes when government forces resorted pellets, live ammunition and tear smoke shells, said local eternal witnesses.
Besides this , One more boy killed among the seven civilians, a teenager identified as Aqib Bashir of Prichoo area, was identified by his father after her saw his dead body while passing by. Eyewitnesses said that Aqib’s body was lying in the hospital bed for a long time as unidentified until a passerby stepped into the hospital.
“The man upon checking the face fainted saying, ‘He is my son’.”
Authorities stopped train services and cut cellphone internet in Srinagar and other districts of valley to prevent anti-India demonstrations from being organized and stop the dissemination of protest videos by Kashmiris.
Syed Salahuddin, who is based in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, condemned the killings while asking Pakistan “to stop begging India for talks and instead aggressively help Kashmir struggle on all fronts,”.
“How long shall the global community keep watching the Indian brutality in Kashmir like a mute spectator?” Salahuddin asked. “As a party to the dispute, Pakistan needs to move beyond offering moral and political support to oppressed Kashmiris.”
The killings of the seven civilians and three militants angered Kashmiris and sparked anti-India protests and clashes at several places in the valley .
Mir Suhail is a Srinagar based journalist