Sheikh Imran Bashir
Srinagar: The Army has been deployed in Srinagar to assist the state administration in maintaining law and order as indefinite curfew continued in the city and other parts of the Kashmir valley for the second day Wednesday after fresh violent protests left four more civilians dead in last two days and over 80 injured, including police and CRPF troopers.
Army columns were deployed in the entire city which saw widespread violence in Batmaloo and Maisuma locality. Curfew was in force in Anantnag, Pampore, Pulwama and Kulgam in South Kashmir and Kupwara and Bandipore in North Kashmir.
Restrictions were in force at Sopore and Baramulla, north Kashmir also staged a flag march.
State Chief Secretary S S Kapoor had sought the Army’s assistance in maintaining law and order.
Army was tonight deployed on the streets of the city to enforce curfew imposed after the killing of three youths in firing by police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The decision to deploy the army was taken late tonight in view of the fact that adequate police personnel were not available to deal with the situation as they have been deployed for Amarnath Yatra and counter-insurgency operations.
“We have staged a flag march on one of the key roads in Srinagar and we are ready to assist the state government whenever and wherever required,” army spokesman J.S. Brar told said.
“Army men have been mostly deployed in Hyderpora, Batmaloo and Maisuma and some parts of Old City,” sources said.
Pertinently, the Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, had on late Tuesday said that government had formally asked for army support “in restoring order in Srinagar.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had appealed to the people to maintain calm and not to violate curfew restrictions.
Meanwhile authorities have cancelled all the curfew passes issued to media-persons. The police and security forces have been directed not to allow any journalist to move in the city.
Police are not allowing media-persons and scribes to come out and discharge their professional duties in curfew bound city.
Mehraj Udin, a senior journalist of Associated Press Television News, told Agence India Press that police and paramilitary force does not allow us to discharge our duty as they are not allowing us to move from our offices.
“Policemen are not honoring the curfew passes issued by the District Magistrate (DM),” a group of photojournalists told Agence India Press on Wednesday.
“If you want to come out, get the new passes. Stay indoors if you want to remain alive” they quoted policemen as having said.
They said that they informed the officials of the state Information department about police not honoring the curfew passes. “We cannot issue new passes as DM is not available,” media-men quoted official as having told them.
While talking to Agence India Press, the president of Kashmir Press Association (KPA), Ghulam Hassan Kaloo passed a resolution condemning the act and terming it an assault on the freedom of press by the government.
He said, I had already pass on this matter in front of Director Information and he (Director Information) assures that new passed will be issued and distribute to media-persons very soon.
The CRPF and police personnel stopped several media persons including correspondent of a news channel who were on way to the offices to report the events.
Arshid Mir, a photojournalist told Agence India Press that, government just want to hide the facts, as we believe in truths and facts; our job is just to bring an actual picture in front of people.
This is like murder activity on the freedom of press by the government he further added.
An bureau chief of NDTV in Kashmir, Nazir Masoodi said, that we were was doing live programme outside the office premises and within no time police with some senior officers came their and told us to stop transmission and go inside the office, when we ask for the reason they took away our camera and suspend our work.
The Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Mehraj Ahmed Kakroo on Wednesday said that all curfew passes have been cancelled.
“Army is out and curfew passes are not being entertained,” said Kakroo.
A senior officer on condition of anonymity told Agence India Press that the decision to ban has been taken at the highest level.
Meanwhile peaceful protests have been reported from Baramulla, Shopian and Chadura.
Sources told Agence India Press that, people are sitting on the roads to protests killings despite army flag march.
Reports from Ganderbal said that protesters clashed with CRPF and police. Police used teargas and fired aerial shots to disperse the protesters.
Fresh violence broke out in Kashmir Valley on Tuesday after 5 days of calm, leaving four persons dead and over 70 injured following which indefinite curfew was clamped in Srinagar.