Srinagar: Several separatist leaders were put under house arrest in view of a strike called on Monday, to protest the death of a truck conductor who was injured in Udhampur petrol bomb attack, allegedly over smuggling cattle. A sort of semi curfew was seen in some areas ahead of the funeral of conductor Zahid, who succumbed to his injuries at a Delhi hospital on Sunday after battling for life for nine days.
Movement of people was restricted in Anantnag and Bijbehara police station areas in South Kashmir, a police official said, and similar strict restrictions have been imposed in six police station areas of Srinagar, where protests had broken out on Sunday over the trucker’s death. The affected areas are M R Gunj, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Maisuma, Rainawari and Khanyar.
Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKDFP leader Shabir Ahmad Shah were among several separatists placed under house arrest, the official said.
As soon as the news about Zahid’s demise reached his Batengoo village, a spontaneous shutdown was observed on Sunday and clashes between protesters and police broke out there and adjoining areas of Kulgam as also in several areas of Srinagar.
A resident of Anantnag in South Kashmir, Zahid was the conductor of the truck that was en route to Kashmir when a mob attacked it with petrol bombs on 9 October. The driver of the truck Showkat Ahmed is also admitted in hospital. Nine people have been arrested for the attack and five of them slapped with the tough Public Safety Act.
An aircraft of the state government flew Zahid’s body last evening from Delhi and it was taken to his native village for last rites. Ruling PDP chief and MP from Anantnag Mehbooba Mufti, state’s finance minister Haseeb A Drabu and law minister Basharat Bukhari were at the Srinagar airport to receive the body.
Both factions of separatist Hurriyat Conference and JKLF have called for a shutdown in the Valley. A Kashmiri pandit organization, Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, Kashmir High Court Bar Association, traders’ bodies and transport union have extended support to the shutdown call.