Curfew imposed in Indian-controlled Kashmir after protest over civilian killings

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(London Post –  SRINAGAR, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — As Muslim majority areas of Indian-controlled Kashmir Monday observed complete shutdown to protest the killing of two civilians allegedly in police firing, authorities imposed curfew in several areas to stop street protests, officials said.

The call for shutdown was given by almost all separatist groups against the killing of two civilians including a young woman on Sunday in district Pulwama, south of Srinagar city.

“Indian forces present in Kashmir are committing crimes against humanity and unleashing terror due to the unbridled powers given to them under draconian laws,” moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.

Authorities fearing protests over the killings imposed curfew in Pulwama district and parts of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Hundreds of Indian policemen and paramilitary troopers were deployed on the roads in curfew bound areas to enforce curfew restrictions and disallow movement of people and vehicles.

The separatist leaders including Farooq have been placed under house arrest to prevent them from leading anti-India protests.

The killing of 22-year-old woman Shaista Hameed and 19-year-old Danish Mir took place after police fired on protesters in Kakapora village of Pulwama who had gathered to protest death of a militant during gunfight in the area. The police firing also left 14 civilians wounded.

Police officials said woman was hit by bullet while taking cover during the firing.

Locals alleged policemen fired directly into them.

The shutdown and restrictions have affected normal life in the region.

Shops, businesses, offices remained closed in wake of the shutdown and restrictions. Public transport was off the roads, while private vehicles were seen plying at various places in the city.

Authorities suspended local train services and cancelled Kashmir University examinations in the region.

The killings have evoked sharp condemnation from pro-India parties including National Conference, Congress party and Peoples Democratic Party.

Reports said authorities have ordered a probe into the civilian killings.

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris.

A separatist movement and guerilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.

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