It's Peace At Gunpoint In Curfew-clamped Valley

It's Peace At Gunpoint In Curfew-clamped Valley

30 June 2010
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: An uneasy calm prevailed in the Valley after days of violence on Wednesday, as thousands of troops in battle fatigues, carrying automatic rifles, patrolled streets, erected barricades and restricted movement to prevent angry street protests against the killing of 11 youth in CRPF firing since June 11. Reports from north Kashmir town of Baramulla said a brigadier led a flag march to defuse tension in the area, which has been under curfew since Tuesday. An indefinite curfew remained in place in Anantnag, 100 km away, which has been on the boil since three teenagers were killed in CRPF firing on Tuesday. Officials said additional troops were rushed to the town and the situation was brought under control after thousands of people defied restrictions and damaged a number of vehicles, a police post and some shops in the town on Tuesday night. 'Restrictions were strictly enforced and nobody was allowed to move,' a police officer said. Sopore and parts of Srinagar also remained under curfew to prevent protests. Stray violence was reported from separate places in Srinagar, but no one was hurt. Police used batons and teargas shells to quell protests at Natipora and Batamaloo in Srinagar. Curfew was extended to few other places in Anantnag district. Reports from Handwara area said a mob tried to attack ruling National Conference leader Sharief-ud-din Shariq's house. A police officer said the mob stoned the house, but cops deployed there chased them away. No one was hurt. Elsewhere in the Valley, businesses remained shuttered, schools and colleges closed and traffic off the roads in protest against the killings. Angry street protests had escalated at several places in the Valley on Tuesday, as three teenagers were killed when CRPF troopers fired at a procession against the killing of three youth in Sopore last week. Eleven people, including a 9-year-old kid, have been killed since June 11 when violence flared over the killing of a 17-year-old Tufail Ahmed in police action in old Srinagar. Authorities also banned SMS services in the Valley to prevent what they described as rumour mongering and attempts to disrupt peace. Sources said the ban would be in force till the situation improves. The decision came after authorities suspended mobile services in north Kashmir on Monday.


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