SRINAGAR: Shops and schools shut down in parts of Indian Kashmir on Wednesday to protest against a string of targeted killings. These killings have triggered fear in the restive region.
Hundreds of police and paramilitary troops patrolled Kashmir’s mostly deserted main city of Srinagar after separatist groups called a strike over killings blamed on undercover security forces.
Unidentified gunmen have killed four separatist activists including two former rebels in the last week in the Sopore area of northern Kashmir.
“The effect of the strike is widespread across towns in the Kashmir valley and other Muslim majority areas of the state also,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.
The incident began on June 9 when gunmen killed a member of group led by Indian Kashmir’s top separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.
The killing of three more activists followed, one a sympathiser of the same group and two former rebels, a few days later.
Police said initial investigations indicated rebel group Hizbul Mujahideen was behind the attacks. They had announced a reward of two million rupees ($31,000) for information.
The manner of the latest killings has panicked some separatist activists, former rebels and residents.