1st In 11 Yrs: Entire Valley Under Curfew

1st In 11 Yrs: Entire Valley Under Curfew

14 September 2010
Times of India


Srinagar: The entire Kashmir Valley was brought under day and night curfew on Tuesday, even as the armed forces reiterated their resistance to any dilution of the legal protection they get under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) ahead of an all-party meeting today. Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, who is also chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, said, 'If a soldier is to be potent and effective in a counter-insurgency theatre, he must have all the legal protection he can get.' 'I am sure the government is sensitized to this problem and whatever decision they will take I am sure it will be the correct one,' said Naik, in response to whether AFSPA should be withdrawn from some districts of J&K. Meanwhile, the government is expected to look for room to initiate some 'political gestures' on Jammu and Kashmir at the all-party meet. In Kashmir, prohibitory orders were imposed in all the 14 districts that constitute the Valley following violence on Monday, which saw 17 people die in police firing. However, protesters took to the streets at several places. Despite curfew being extended to all major towns in the Valley, defiant protesters took to the streets on Tuesday. Clashes between stone pelters and security forces were reported from Khanpora in Baramulla district, Zainakot and Bemina in Srinagar, Chadoora in Budgam and Sumbal in Bandipora. At least eight protesters were injured, one of them seriously, when police retaliated by firing teargas shells. Meanwhile, Srinagar was pocked with tell-tale signs of Monday's bloodshed. While the road to the airport was strewn with carcasses of burnt vehicles, debris from stone-throwing and smashed windows could be seen across the city. In Bandipora district of north Kashmir, stone pelters attacked the house of former MLC Habeebullah at Watipora, 60km from Srinagar. But they were chased away by police. Protesters defied curfew restrictions at Khanpora, 50km from Srinagar, and indulged in heavy stone-pelting on the police and paramilitary forces. Security forces fired warning shots and lobbed teargas shells causing injuries to seven people. Thirty-two-year-old Fayaz Ahmad was injured when security forces allegedly opened fire to chase away a stone-pelting mob at Boatman colony in Bemina locality of Srinagar. Fayaz is stated be critical. A mob attacked CRPF batallion headquarters in Zianakote industrial area, on the outskirts of Srinagar, prompting the security personnel to open fire. One youth was injured. Abdul Rashid Ganai was hit by a rubber bullet at Chadoora after a stone-pelting mob attacked security forces in the town in Budgam district. Violence was reported from Sumbal in Bandipora district and Harapora-Handwara in Kupwara district. There is a possibility of Wednesday's meeting leading to an all-party delegation visiting J&K soon. This would be seen as an initiative to signal the Centre's bid to restart a wide-ranging political engagement in the state where administration has been paralysed by violence wracking the Valley.


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