After night-long violent protests by locals in south Kashmir's Anantnag district against the killing of three youths in protesters-policemen clashes, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday imposed curfew in three major towns in south of Srinagar besides north Kashmir's Baramulla and Sopore districts. A probe has been ordered to look into the deaths in Anantnag.
Last night, thousands of protesters in Anantnag, 60 km south of Srinagar, hit the streets immediately after last rites of the three youth were performed. The violent mobs indulged in rioting and arson. Several buses of the State Road Transport Corporation, a petrol pump, a religious place and government buildings were torched by protesters. Pro-freedom and anti-India slogans were raised from dozens of mosques and many protesters patrolled the streets till late in the night.
Locals allege the security forces chased protesters on Tuesday and shot them from close range inside houses and a baker shop. "A probe has been ordered into the deaths. An additional district commissioner will be the inquiry officer," said Anantnag district commissioner JP Singh.
Member of Parliament from south Kashmir Mehboob Beg, a ruling National Conference leader, too has demanded judicial probe into the incident.
"There is a perception in Anantnag that youths were dragged from their homes and killed. We need to investigate the allegations,” said Beg.
Anantnag district is the only route for Amarnath pilgrims to reach to the shrine. The administration has decided to allow the pilgrims during the night to pass by the curfew-bound Anantnag areas. There were protests despite restriction at Mattan and Bijbehara in south Kashmir. Three major towns ---Pulwama, Bijbehara and Anantnag --- have been placed under curfew.
The media was not allowed by the police to visit Anantnag town on Wednesday.
Srinagar district too continued to be tense for fifth day on Wednesday. Despite curfew-like security restrictions, there were reports of minor protests from downtown Srinagar, uptown areas of Tengpora, Batamalloo, Bemina, Barazulla and Maisuma. There were no reports of major injuries from the areas.
Residents of Nowshera, Hawal, Safa Kadal and other downtown areas have alleged that police were picking up innocent civilians from interiors of the city for no reason.
"Our neighbours were just walking and police came and picked them up and started banging doors of everyone in their way. Probably, they want to instill fear in the minds of people. Many minors just wandering on the streets were arrested," said Irfan Muzamil, a resident of Hawal.
Many cricket-playing youth have also been picked up from Nowshera. "We are just confused. No curfew was declared in Srinagar. There were no announcements by the government. But if we venture out we are beaten up. The government has to inform people where there is curfew," said Tasaduq Hussain, a government employee.
In the wake of separatists' Pather Masjid march on Thursday, the administration is likely to impose curfew in Srinagar. Special curfew passes were issued to the mediamen on Wednesday.
North Kashmir Sopore and Baramulla areas continued to be curfew-bound for third day. Army staged a flag march in Baramulla to contain spreading violent protests. There were no reports of protests in Sopore which too has been handed over to the army.