Strike extended for another day; 12 injured in militant attack in Sopore

Amid severe restrictions imposed in most parts of Srinagar, the Kashmir Valley on Monday observed a strike to protest against the killing of two youths.

In another development, a militant attack in north Kashmir's Sopore town left 12 people injured, including four policemen.

The strike call, given by separatist organisations, brought life in Srinagar and other parts of the valley to a grinding halt. Most offices, shops, banks and educational institutions remained closed, and vehicles stayed off the road. People stayed indoors.

From early morning, police and paramilitary forces patrolled the streets to prevent flare-up of violence. Sporadic incidents of stone-throwing were reported in some areas.

The people were protesting against the death of Javid Ahmad Malla in firing by security forces on Sunday. The 25-year-old was part of a demonstration taken out to protest the death of another youth, Rafiq Bangroo. Rafiq, who was injured recently in police firing, died on Saturday evening.

The Hurriyat Conference, led by Syed Ali Geelani, has extended the strike call for Tuesday to register the protests.

Another faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq called an all-party meeting of separatist parties on June 24 to discuss a strategy to prevent the death of innocent people in action by security forces.

In Sopore, militants launched underbarrel grenades at the State Bank of India complex in the main chowk. Two Indian Reserve Police constables were injured.

The militants fired another grenade at the Sopore telecom exchange injuring five BSNL employees and two civilians. They later attacked the 22 Rashtriya Rifles camp injuring a soldier.

The area was cordoned off by police and the Rashtriya Rifles and gunfight was going on till late into Monday night. Two more police personnel were injured in the encounter, of whom one was airlifted to Srinagar for treatment.

“The encounter is on and two militants are inside a house,” Sopore Superintendent of Police Altaf Khan told The Hindu, adding that it took the police a long time to clear the house of civilians to avoid collateral damage.