Another day of clashes and curfew
It was another day of curfew and restrictions in large parts of the Kashmir Valley today with authorities hoping to scuttle separatist protests and weary citizens resigned to what has become an unhappy routine.india Updated: Aug 18, 2010 12:03 IST
It was another day of curfew and restrictions in large parts of the Kashmir Valley on Wednesday with authorities hoping to scuttle separatist protests and weary citizens resigned to what has become an unhappy routine.
"It is the routine now. When the separatists call for protests, the authorities react by imposing curfew.
"I do not need to look out of the window to see the security men patrolling the road as all of us know they would be there because the separatists have called for a protest today," said Zubair Ahmad, 38, a resident of the old city area in Srinagar.
Except for north Kashmir's Ganderbal, Handwara and the south Kashmir town of Shopian, authorities imposed curfew and restrictions in all other towns, including this summer capital.
"This has become absolutely essential to protect civilian life and property from the designs of antisocial elements. The separatists call them peaceful protests and we have yet to see one when the youth take to the streets in response to their appeals.
"It is surprising that whenever these so-called peaceful protests are sought by the separatists, they are invariably violent," said a police officer.
"Prevention of violence is the only option as we do not want to risk lives of the civilians. Except for Ganderbal, Handwara and Shopian, curfew and restrictions have been imposed at other places today," he added.
The hardline faction of the separatist Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani has asked people to stage sit-ins and peaceful protests throughout the Valley and also called for a shutdown.
Shops, other businesses, educational institutions, banks, post offices, public and private transport remained suspended in most parts of the Valley, reeling under an unprecedented unrest since June 11 during which 59 people have been killed in security force actions.
Contingents of police and central reserve police force (CRPF) moved out in full gear early Wednesday morning disallowing all pedestrian and vehicular movement in Srinagar city.
Clashes were reported from several places.
In Bemina on the outskirts of the city, a retired policeman was run over by a speeding vehicle of the Central Reserve Police Force that was trying to negotiate its way through a furious stone pelting mob.
Security forces fired after being encircled by a group of stone pelters in Hangal Gund village of Anantnag district late Tuesday evening resulting in critical injuries to two people both of whom were shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment.
Curfew had to be re-imposed in Anantnag and Pulwama towns following violence after the news of another youth succumbing to injuries reached there.
The youth identified as Muhammad Abbas Dhobi, 20, belonged to south Kashmir Mattan town.
Police maintained the youth had been injured during a stampede in Lazibal village Friday as clashes erupted there between stone pelters and security forces.
Locals alleged Dhobi had been severely beaten by the security forces.