North Kashmir's Sopore town on Friday observed a complete shutdown to protest the murder of Akhtara (19) and Arifa (17), both sisters, by unidentified gunmen in the town on Tuesday.

Police suspect Lashkar-e-Taiba's hand behind the incident. The killing has evoked widespread condemnation and demand for an impartial probe.

The shutdown was in response to a call given by hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Geelani. While condemning the incident, he asked people to register their protest by observing a complete strike. All the shops, business establishments, offices and banks remained closed on Friday and vehicles were was off the roads.

The town has expressed its resentment against the killing. “We want a thorough probe and the killers punished,” said a resident, Ghulam Hassan Bhat.

The Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah have condemned the incident. Significantly, Opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) has not reacted to the incident.

The protests by women's groups continued for the second day. Muslim Khawateen Markaz, a constituent of Mr. Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference, staged a demonstration in Lal Chowk. Led by its chairperson Anjum Zamrud Habib, the protesters demanded “stern action against the murderers.” “We have seen enough during 20 years and women have suffered much. This should stop now,” she said.

“The police does not lose a moment in picking up youth on flimsy grounds. Why don't they act and get the killers. It is easy to blame someone but a proof with credibility is must,” she said, adding that the political parties have condemned the incident in one voice.