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Brittle peace in Kashmir

india Updated: Aug 03, 2010 00:39 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times
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The situation becomes bad in Kashmir just when it seems things seem to have turned the corner.

This time the Valley erupted over the killing of a 17-year-old boy, Tufail Matoo, who was on his way to his tuition classes on June 11, and has not seen normalcy since then but only a spell of lull.

The reaction was a chain of demonstrations, followed by police firing, leading to more deaths and again demonstrations.

Business and schools bore the brunt and life was crippled.

Stone-throwing emerged as the main form of Kashmiri protest in 2008, when more than 50 people died in unrest over the land allotted for the annual pilgrimage to Amarnath, a Hindu shrine in a mainly Muslim area of the state.

This pilgrimage regularly stokes Muslim-Hindu tension, partly because of the increasing number of pilgrims — more than 50,000 are taking part this year.

In May 2009, again at the beginning of the tourist season, it was the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian, some 85 km from Srinagar, which led to protest.

This year, however, things started becoming ugly at the beginning of the year, when 16-year-old Inayat Khan was killed in Srinagar. But peace held from February to June.

Now the protests have become more violent. In the past four days, more than 15 people have died.