Srinagar Kashmir – India 27/6/12: For third consecutive day on Wednesday, Kashmir valley witnessed unrest and severe curfew-like restrictions in several areas in the wake of devastating fire, engulfing the 245-year-old shrine of Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani RA on Monday morning. Indian forces announced restrictions
through public address system in six volatile old city areas of Srinagar in the morning, asking people to stay indoors.
Thousands of Indian forces patrolled tense streets in Kashmir’s 0main city on Wednesday as residents boycotted work for a third straight day to protest the fiery destruction of a 200-year-old Muslim shrine.
Shops, businesses and schools remained closed in Srinagar, while public buses and taxis were nowhere to be found. Police asked residents to stay indoors in parts of the city, in an effort to prevent anti-India demonstrations that could lead to violence, officer Rajendra Kumar said.
It is still unclear what started the fire Monday that destroyed a shrine that held a few relics from Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, an 11th-century saint known widely as Ghaus-e-Azam who is buried in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
The fire sparked angry protests by thousands demanding an end to Indian rule in the disputed Himalayan territory. Several clashes erupted, with police using tear gas to disperse stone-throwing crowds, and 30 protesters and 10 officers were injured.
Separatists have dismissed the government’s promise to investigate the blaze and are demanding an independent probe.
The separatists had called for a strike on Tuesday, but residents maintained it Wednesday on their own — partly because of police restrictions, though areas not under curfew also participated in the shutdown.
“Police and soldiers are not allowing us to come out of our homes,” resident Wasim Ahmed said.
Kashmir, where most people are Muslim, is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both. Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the Indian-administered portion, where rebel groups have fought since 1989 for independence or merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the uprising and subsequent Indian crackdown.
KMS Adds: In occupied Kashmir, anti-India protest demonstrations were held in Baramulla, Islamabad, Shopian, Pulwama and Badgam, while curfew remained enforced in different parts of the occupied territory, today.
The Indian police and paramilitary forces resorted to brute force and teargas-shells to disperse hundreds of youth in these areas who were protesting against the Indian occupation. Scores of people were injured in the clashes.
Meanwhile, curfew remained enforced in 6 police stations of Khanyar, Nauhatta, Maharaj Gunj, Rainawari, Safa Kadal and Kral Khud on the third consecutive day, today, since the gutting of the Dastgeer Sahib shrine at Khanyar on Monday. The Indian police announced on loudspeakers from their vehicles that anyone seen on the streets would be shot at sight. Even journalists were not allowed to visit the site of the gutted shrine. Strike was also held in most parts of the occupied territory.