February 2001 News

Curfew ends in Kashmir, leader detained

8 February 2001
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Four- day old curfew in Srinagar, imposed after the massacre of six Sikhs, was lifted today, even as a militant leader was detained by troops in Kashmir. The curfew was imposed Sunday after unidentified gunmen massacred six Sikhs in the Kashmiri summer capital. Witnesses said Sikhs poured into Srinagar from nearby towns and villages to pay their respects at the site of the massacre. The curfew in Jammu was lifted for three hours Wednesday to allow people to shop for essentials, officials said. But it was kept in place in three Sikh-majority districts of the southern Kashmir city as a precautionary measure. Several Muslim separatist leaders have condemned Saturday's killings, which some have seen as possible retribution by Islamic rebels for the killing last week of a Muslim rickshaw driver - allegedly by Sikh members of Kashmir's counter-insurgency special operations group. Last March, 35 Sikhs were killed by unidentified gunmen at Chittisinghpora village in southern Kashmir. Indian security forces and Muslim separatist guerrillas blame each other for the massacre. Elsewhere, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the former chief of an umbrella forum of Muslim separatist parties, was detained by Border Security Force troops on Wednesday in a southern Kashmiri town, but he was later released. Geelani, who stood by the Sikh community after Saturday's massacre, said he was picked up while he was on his way to attend a meeting to condole relatives over the death of a Muslim in the town of Tral. The anti-Indian rebellion in Kashmir, which is spearheded by Islamic guerrilla groups, has left more than 34,000 people dead over the past 11 years.


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