SRINAGAR: A one-day general strike called in Indian-administered Kashmir by separatists to protest the death of a shopkeeper in police custody Wednesday closed down shops, schools and offices.
“The strike is to protest this gross human rights violation,” said hardline separatist and chief organiser Syed Ali Geelani in a statement.
The strike was widely followed in the main city of Srinagar and other towns, including Sopore where the weekend incident happened, police sources and residents said.
Nazim Rashid, a shopkeeper, was detained by counter-insurgency police on Saturday in the northern town of Sopore. He was declared dead early Sunday, with no reason provided as to the cause.
Police said Monday they had registered a murder case and suspended three officers following the death of the 28-year-old man.
But Geelani insisted there should be an impartial enquiry by a UN body or international human rights groups.
Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah promised “swift and exemplary action” in a Twitter post on Sunday.
Rashid’s family has also called for an independent probe, even as the Sopore police chief was transferred late Tuesday to ensure a “free and fair probe”.
Last year more than 110 people were killed when police and security forces opened fire during a series of demonstrations triggered by the death of a 17-year-old youth who was hit by a police teargas shell.
Last week there were protests against the alleged rape of a woman by soldiers.
Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan, with the Indian-administered sector hit by a more than two-decade insurgency against New Delhi’s rule that has left more than 47,000 people dead.