Kashmir Shuts Against Udhampur Attack

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SRINAGAR:  Kashmir Valley Monday observed a complete shutdown against the murderous attack on Kashmiri truckers on Srinagar-Jammu highway near Udhampur. 

The call for shutdown was given by Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani, trader’s bodies and other separatist organizations.

All the shops and business establishments, educational institutions remained shut while transport also remained by and large off the roads.

Two Kashmiri truckers from South Kashmir were attacked by a mob on the highway during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday near Udhampur. While driver managed to escape the two persons onboard the truck are being treated at Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi for their serious burn injuries.

People and activists of different separatist organizations staged protests at many places across Kashmir against the heinous crime while at several places youth clashed with government forces. 

Scores of lawyers from High Court Bar Association led by Vice-President Ajaz Bedar staged a protest outside court complex. Amid pro-freedom, anti-Mufti-Modi slogans the lawyers demanded stringent punishment for the accused involved in the murderous attack on Kashmiri truckers. 

The protesting lawyers suspended their work and disrupted traffic on Bypass for half an hour. They alleged that under pressure PDP has miserably failed to curb the communal elements in the State.

Eyewitnesses said that JKLF leader Showkat Ahmed Bakshi and other activists of the organization were apprehended by police after scores of activists tried to march towards city centre Lal Chowk. Some youth while resenting the police action pelted stone on police vehicle. The police retaliated and reportedly arrested three youth. Earlier, while starting its protest march at Abi Guzar, Showkat Bakshi warned government that if it fails to curb the communal Hindu elements, it will then have serious consequence. He said that Kashmiri truckers are attacked to crush people of Kashmir economically. “It is time for fruit growers to reap the benefits of their year’s hard work and these communal frenzy people do everything to assault and scare Kashmiri truckers which is shameful and more shameful for the government that does not take action against the goons,” Showkat Bakshi said.  

The activists of Jammu Kashmir People’s Freedom League also protested against the Udhampur incident here. Number of activists led by party General Secretary Muhammad Ramzan Khan appeared in Press Enclave here. They were carrying banners and placards seeking an end to communal terrorism. Police detained these activists when they tried to take a march towards city centre Lal Chowk. Police identified some of the arrested persons as Imtiyaz Ahmed Shah, Muhammad Ramzan Khan and Showkat Ahmed Bhat.

Amid shutdown a protest march was also taken out by people in Handwara town that was attended by a large number of people. Denouncing beef ban and Udhampur attack on Kashmiri truckers, people accused government of failing to ensure security to Kashmiri drivers on Srinagar-Jammu highway.

Reports said that all the districts of Kashmir Valley observed shutdown against the Udhampur incident. At Kadalbal Pampore in Pulwama district, agitated youth attacked moving vehicles with stones, causing damage to a couple of vehicles. The protesting youth were protesting against the attack on Kashmiri truck drivers. They clashed with police for hours.

A complete strike paralysed normal life across Anantnag town as well, reports said.

A police official said that the situation remained peaceful across Kashmir. (With inputs from the CNS)

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