Sheikh Imran Bashir
Srinagar: Life in the Kashmir Valley remained crippled for the seventh consecutive day on Thursday amidst curfew and shutdown.
Shops, banks, educational institutions and government offices remained closed while traffic remained off the roads in all the districts across the Valley.
With the situation remaining tense in most areas of the Kashmir Valley, authorities today gave no relaxation in curfew in Sopore, Baramulla, Pulwama, Kulgam, Bijbehara and Islamabad, and tightened security in Srinagar ahead of a proposed women’s protest march.
Curfew restrictions, which were imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar on June 28, were further tightened today in the wake of the Hurriyat call to the women of the valley to march to ‘Pather Masjid’ in the old city.
Meanwhile, the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims comprising 1,272 people preceded to 3,880 metre cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas through the traditional Pahalgam and the shorter Baltal routes this morning, officials said.
The pilgrims had reached the twin base camps of Nunwan and Baltal from Jammu last evening. Additional security forces have been deployed on both the routes to ensure safety of the pilgrims.
Curfew restrictions, which were imposed in seven police station areas of Srinagar on June 28 following violence, were further tightened on Thursday in the wake of Hurriyat (G) call to the women of the valley to march to ‘Pather Masjid’ in the old city.
Contingents of women police personnel have also been deployed in the sensitive areas to prevent the march called by Hurriyat Conference headed by its jailed leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
All roads leading to Pather Masjid have been sealed and road blockades erected to prevent the march.
A group of women tried to take out a protest march in Srinagar when they were intercepted by the police. This led to a clash between the youth and security personnel. Five persons including some mediapersons have been injured in the clash.
A large number of women security personnel were deployed in the Valley to prevent the protest march. Curfew and restrictions are still being strictly enforced.
Today’s clashes come after a day of tenuous calm in the Valley on Wednesday, when large parts of the state remained under curfew. The day majorly passed off calmly, though sporadic clashes were reported from some areas.
For the past some days, Srinagar has seen violent protests over the death of 11 people in three weeks, allegedly in firing by security forces.
From north to south Kashmir, the Valley is literally being managed by the police and security forces to deal with the crisis. The government hopes that curfew and security restrictions will help to douse the flames and calm tempers.
After the PM held a high-level meeting to discuss Kashmir situation on Wednesday, the Centre accused the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) of stoking the fire in Kashmir and conceded the need for political steps and asked Omar Abdullah to visit some disturbed areas.
A local resident Mukhtar Ahmad told Agence India Press that, Chidambaram has so many faces now he is trying to find a face saving for his in capabilities to stop violence, last time he banned pre-paid sim cards now he has accuse Lashkar-e-Taiba for this violence, do people like LeT indulge in stone pelting or provoke people to pelt stones or do people believe in so called terrorist what is he trying to say he seems so confused within himself.
Meanwhile, a girl was injured when an unidentified explosive went off near her house in Baramulla district today, police said.
The incident happened at Bachoo in Kreeri area, 35km from Srinagar, they said.
The girl received minor injuries in the blast which also damaged some glass panes of the house, he said, adding that they are ascertaining the cause of the explosion.
Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen fired two rifle grenades in curfew-bound Sopore town of North Kashmir, however there was no loss of life, police said.
The incident happened at Hathishah Mohalla and Chankhan localities of the town, 55km from Srinagar, around 10.30am, they said.
Curfew is in force in the town since June 25 following massive violent protests resulting in killing of four persons and injuries to scores of people including policemen.
However, No militant outfit has owned responsibility for the attack.