Protests Wane In Kashmir As Govt Lifts Curfew12 July 2010
The Hindustan Times
Srinagar: After facing spiraling protests for over three weeks now, Kashmir Valley on Monday witnessed waning street demonstrations as the authorities lifted curfew but put in place a ban on assemblage of people. One minor, however, received rubber pellet injury in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in a clash. Residents of downtown Srinagar, spread over approximately over 5 square kilo metre, , complained the security restrictions continued to lock them up inside their homes. “We still face security restrictions. People are chased if they come on roads. The state government claims of entirely lifting curfew are false,” said Manzoor Ahmad, a resident of Rajouri Kadal in old Srinagar. Residents allege the security forced manning the area ask for curfew passes and have laid concertina wires to restrict movement of people on streets by blocking lanes and bylanes. On June 11, Tufail Mattoo (17) died in the same area when he was hit by smoke-shell fired by a police party. Since then the Valley plunged into a crisis because of several deaths. Fifteen civilians have died in clashes between demonstrators and security forces’ action since then. People in downtown Anantnag, 55 km south of Srinagar, made similar complaint of security lockdown. Three youth were killed in the area on June 29 in police firing. There was, however, semblance of normalcy in most part of Kashmir. Private transport, though thin, plied on uptown Srinagar and National Highways in north and south Kashmir. People were busy buying essential items like vegetables, medicines and grocery. In response to the hard-line All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) “civil curfew” call, most shops, schools, government offices and business establishments remained closed. According to one estimate, the Valley lost more than Rs 6,500 crore in the recent unrest - which saw scores dead, hundreds behind the bars and many more injured in clashes. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad told Hindustan Times that there was no curfew in Srinagar. “It was peaceful. There were no incidents of violence reported from anywhere,” Ahmad told HT. The authorities to avoid gathering of protesters, however, put in place prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC, which prohibits assemblage of more than four people at one place, in parts of old city and other major towns in Kashmir. There was an incident of violence where a youth, identified as Sameer Ahmad, was injured after being hit by a rubber pellet in the morning at Delina in Baramulla district. Besides Delina, protesters pelted stones at security forces in Kupwara district, 80 km north of Srinagar. Separatists have asked people to reach towards martyrs’ graveyard tomorrow at old Srinagar’s Nowhatta area to pay homage to 1931 martyrs. The separatists plan to march towards United Nations office in Srinagar, 5 km away from the graveyard. Meanwhile, lawyers on Monday threatened to boycott courts in Kashmir till High Court Bar Association president Mian Qayoom, booked under the Public Safety Act, is released. The decision was taken at a meeting held by officer bearers of the Bar in Srinagar.