Separatist group Joint Resistance Leadership on Monday called for a shutdown after seven civilians were killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam district during a blast at an encounter site a day before, Greater Kashmir reported. The state police took to Twitter to “express their regret over the deaths” but stressed that “such sites should be avoided till properly sanitised”.
Security forces killed three suspected militants in an encounter in Kulgam district’s Laroo village on Sunday. Two soldiers were injured in the gunfight. Soon after the encounter, the police tweeted that civilians ignored requests to avoid visiting the site while they searched for explosives.
The Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhadarwah and at least three trade unions expressed their solidarity with the call for the shutdown. Shops, private offices, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in Srinagar, PTI reported. Public transport was off the roads, officials said. There were no restrictions anywhere in the city, but there was heavy deployment of security forces at several places, officials said.
The collective comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik asked people to join their protest march to Lal Chowk on Tuesday for a sit-in demonstration. “Kashmir has been turned into a slaughterhouse where no one–young, old, children or women–is safe,” the Joint Resistance Leadership said. “Oppression has crossed every limit now and Kashmiris cannot tolerate this silently anymore.
The group said they were preparing a memorandum which will be sent to the United Nations secretary general. “The memorandum will be made available on social media and all Kashmiris will sign it as a mark of hate against Delhi’s inhumanity in Kashmir,” the statement said.
“Kulgam killings are a part of the ongoing state terrorism. Although tyrannical measures have been continuing for the past several decades and have failed to break the resolve of the people, after the governor’s rule, this bloodshed, oppression and tyranny has risen to new heights.”
The Kashmiri Pandits Sangarsh Samiti, a body representing Kashmiri Pandits, backed the shutdown, Rising Kashmir reported. “We extend support to the shutdown call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership as we feel the pain of killing of six civilians and nearly 43 injuring during the Cordon and Search Operations in Kulgam,” a statement by the organisation said. “It seems that the government forces take these basic things casually, which resulted in today’s incident in which six civilians were killed and nearly 43 persons severely injured.”
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries condemned the Kulgam incident. The All Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers-cum-Dealers Union, All Kashmir Auto Rickshaw Drivers Association, Shahr-e-Khaas Traders Federation, and Lal Chowk Traders Association said they supported calls for the shutdown.
The Kashmir Economic Alliance, comprising various trade and business bodies, also extended its support to the shutdown. On Sunday, it reportedly alleged that the civilian killings were “a planned massacre by forces”.
The Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education and the Islamic University of Science and Technology postponed the examinations scheduled for Monday.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Srinagar on Tuesday to hold a review meeting on the security situation, ANI reported. He will also meet Governor Satyapal Malik.