Govt warns youths over violent Kashmir protests
The Indian government today appealed for parents in Kashmir to keep their teenage sons indoors after the deaths of several young men in violent protests over the last month.india Updated: Jul 08, 2010 15:51 IST
The government on Thursday appealed for parents in Kashmir to keep their teenage sons indoors after the deaths of several young men in violent protests over the last month.
At least 15 people have died in separate incidents as security forces opened fire to break up angry demonstrations held across the Kashmir valley.
Each death has triggered further violence despite appeals for calm from the state's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Teenagers and young men have often been among those throwing stones at security forces during the rallies.
"It is important that people do not come on to the streets and start stone pelting," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters in New Delhi, saying the restrictions on all public movement would remain in force for some days.
"Children, especially young boys, should remain indoors. I think there is a responsibility of parents to ensure that," Chidambaram said.
Tens of thousands of soldiers, paramilitary troops and police were on patrol on Thursday in Kashmir enforcing the curfew in towns.
The shutdown was imposed in the Kashmiri summer capital Srinagar on Tuesday after three protesters died in firing by the security forces.
The city has been the focus of protests since June 11, when a 17-year-old student was killed by a police teargas shell.
Curfew orders have been widely ignored in recent days, but the national army on Wednesday marched through Srinagar in a show of force designed to end the increasingly violent protests. The army presence was also strong on Thursday.
However Kashmiris - many of whom want independence from India - crowded several mosques in downtown Srinagar overnight shouting: "We want freedom."
Separatist leaders have also repeated calls for residents to defy the security forces and take to the streets.
Home Secretary GK Pillai, a senior civil servant, visited the disputed region and held discussions with Abdullah.
"The situation is under control in Srinagar and is being watched closely," Pillai told NDTV. "More paramilitary forces are being sent there. The state government has been told to crack down on trouble-makers."
Shops, offices and schools remained closed and streets were empty during the day. Reporters and photographers were not allowed to operate in Srinagar despite having curfew passes.