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Kashmir shuts, funeral pulls thousands

Strike


Srinagar, Jun 25: Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on Monday in protest against the recent civilian killings.

The shutdown was announced on Sunday evening by Joint Hurriyat leadership of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, who had asked people to observe it in view of at least four civilian killings since Eid.

 

On Sunday, a civilian was shot dead in an encounter in Chiddar village at Kulgam. The gunfight ended with the killing of two militants – a local LeT Commander, Shakoor Dar and another, seemingly, of Pakistani origin.

Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut here in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

Public transport was sparse but private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were plying in many areas of the city.

Private educational institutions too were shut because of the strike. Similar reports were received from other district headquarters of the valley.

“There were no restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir,” the officials said.

The day also witnessed tens of thousands of mourners offering back to back funeral prayers for slain Shakoor.

He along with his non-local associate were killed in Chiddar village of Kulgam district. He was the resident of Soput Kulgam.

Reports said a sea of people thronged at his native village to offer tributes to him. The mourners who participated in his funeral procession raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Militants offered gun salute to him by firing a couple of rounds in air.

Shakoor was a cleric and a ‘Hafiz’ (one who memorizes holy Quarn). He used to lead prayers at Jamia Masjid and Eidgah Masjid Soput.

Shakoor according to his family went missing on September 30, 2016. A couple of days later, his photograph along with an assault rifle went viral and police came to know he has joined militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba.

His two brothers Khurshid Ahmed Dar and Sartaj Ahmed Dar were in police custody when Showkat was killed in the gunfight.

Khurshid who is a cancer patient was arrested six months before at Kund Kulgam when police claimed that a pistol was recovered from his possession. He is currently lodged at Joint Interrogation Centre Kehribal Mattan.

Family members said that Khurshid was not allowed to participate in the funeral prayers of his brother Shakoor Ahmed Dar.