Somewhere in Srinagar....

Alleged hardline Hurriyat supporters on Saturday torched a schoolbus in a desperate bid to enforce a shutdown call in Srinagar’s Khanyar area. The attack is seen as an attempt to force Kashmiris, resenting repeated bandhs, indoors. The bus had just picked up a student from home and was headed for another neighbourhood when it was intercepted. The agitators asked the boy and the driver to get off and set the bus afire. The arson follows a period of calm in the Valley after months of street protests against the killing of over 110 people in firing by security forces. The shutdowns have of late been evoking a lukewarm response. Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been issuing a series of “bandh calenders” against the civilian killings.
For about four months, the shutdowns against an alleged fake encounter and the killing of a 17-year-old schoolkid crippled life in the Valley. But then the impact of these serial bandh calls began to wane.
Later, bus driver Muzaffar Ahmad said he pleaded with the attackers, but his requests fell on deaf ears. “It was painful to watch the bus burning in front of my eyes.” Reports said some private schools were closed in Srinagar after the incident, but elsewhere in the Valley they functioned normally. Geelani had called for the shutdown to protest the killing of three youths in an encounter at Qamarwari in Srinagar earlier this week. The call, however, had partial impact as shops and businesses remained open while traffic plied normally.

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