Kashmiri Separatists Threaten To Continue Agitation21 June 2010
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: Kashmir continued to be on the edge on Monday due to separatists’ shutdown call and the authorities’ curfew-like restrictions in the wake of deaths of two Srinagar youth in security forces’ action in the last two days. As protests spread to other districts of Kashmir on Monday, separatists have asked people to continue with shutdown and demonstrations for third day tomorrow; it will be seventh day of lockdown in the last 11 days in Srinagar against the police action which left three youth dead. People in downtown Srinagar, spread over 5 square kilo metre, woke up to a heavy security bandobast today. Most of the lanes and bylanes in seven volatile police stations were sealed by paramilitary troops with barbed wires. The government continued with its undeclared curfew policy and deployed troops in riot-gear across the city. During “undeclared curfew” police personnel ensure there is no assemblage or movement of people on roads but do not describe it as curfew. This curfew-like security arrangement was introduced by Governor N.N Vohra in the 2008 Amarnath row, which sparked violent protests across Jammu and Kashmir. Residents of downtown Srinagar accused security forces of beating them up on venturing outside their homes. No traffic or pedestrian movement was allowed in Safa Kadal too, where a violent protest sparked off on Sunday at the funeral of a youth died due to injuries inflicted during security forces action a week ago. One youth was killed when the CRPF fired at a violent mob trying to set ablaze a security establishment. Severe security restrictions and the separatist shutdown call brought life to a standstill in the Valley, where schools, colleges, banks, government and private offices remained closed. The authorities were able to keep protesters at bay in most parts of Srinagar, except for a few areas where small mobs hurled stones at security forces’ patrol parties. No one was injured in the incidents. Violent protests, however, spread to Anantnag, 35 south of Srinagar, where demonstrators engaged security forces in pitched stone battles. Teargas shells were fired to control unruly mobs at Cheeni Chowk in the district. In another south Kashmir district of Pampore, protesters pelted stones and raised slogans. Activists of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) courted arrested in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district against the “rising incidents of killings of civilians'. In north Kashmir’s Handwara district, a protest procession was carried out by students against the killings of youth. Four protesters were reportedly arrested from the area by the police. Most of the separatists, including moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), were kept under house arrest. Hardline APHC chairman, however, was taken into custody yesterday and shifted to a jail in Budgam district. The Geelani group has asked people to continue protests tomorrow in the state, which might provoke the government to continue with curfew-like restrictions. The moderate separatists, headed by the Mirwaiz, have called for all-parties meeting on June 24 to chart future course of protest programme. “Situation is Kashmir is moving from bad to worse with each passing day. It’s doomsday-like situation in the state. Under a well-thought scheme, young generation is being targeted by the security forces, who are giving damn to the authorities’ zero tolerance slogans,” said the Mirwaiz in a statement. He called upon international human rights bodies, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, to intervene and stop “genocide of Kashmiris”. Meanwhile, exams to be held by Kashmir University, Islamic University of Science and Technology and state Board exams scheduled for Monday were cancelled. Many parents have cancelled marriage parties too.