Sheikh Imran Bashir
Srinagar: The authorities continue with indefinite curfew in all major towns and cities to prevent people from protesting against the recent killing of demonstrators in indiscriminate firing by troops. The authorities continue to clamp curfew in Srinagar, Anantnag, Pampore, Pulwama, Kulgam, Kupwara, Bandipore, Sopore and Baramulla for the second day, today, after the killing of four persons and injuring of over 80 in Srinagar. The authorities have also deployed heavy contingents of army personnel in Srinagar.
Creepy calm prevailed in the Srinagar city on Wednesday amid army staging flag march and police and paramilitary CRPF troopers enforcing curfew strictly.
Reports from old city said that hundreds of force personnel were deployed in the volatile areas and they didn’t allow people to come out of their homes.
However, reports were also received from Batmaloo area where three persons including a 24-year old girl Fancy Jan were killed in police and CRPF action since Monday evening.
No one was even allowed to peep out of his home in volatile Maisuma locality where a youth Abrar Ahmed fell to CRPF bullets on Tuesday evening.
Life remained paralyzed in the entire city with people remaining indoors and only forces personnel patrolling the deserted streets.
Meanwhile, scores of people took to the streets at Baramulla, Shopian, Chadoora and Gangbugh and staged peaceful pro-freedom protests.
According to Agence India Press reporter from Ganderbal said that protesters clashed with CRPF and police. Police used teargas shells and fired aerial shots to disperse the protesters.
Protests were also reported from frontier district of Kupwara and north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.
The Indian Army conducted flag marches in Srinagar’s troubled areas on Wednesday to reduce tensions following the deaths of four more people at the hands of security forces that led to indefinite curfew across several towns in the Kashmir Valley.
Soldiers in machine gun mounted vehicles drove through various localities of this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, including the city centre Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Bemina and Qamarwari localities. Earlier in the day, the Army, this has been called in after the state government’s request, marched on the airport road.
Sources say the Army is reluctant to take over other towns in the troubled Kashmir valley as the Cabinet Committee on Security reviewed the situation on Wednesday.
After the troubles of Tuesday, the state government had requisitioned the Army to help police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers in enforcing the curfew in the city.
However, official sources assured that the Army would not be used for crowd control in Srinagar, where the situation was described as “tense but under control”.
As reports came in of more protests and curfew orders being defied in various parts of the Valley, union Home Secretary G K Pillai was also on his way to Srinagar to assess the situation.
There was curfew defiance in several places including Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Chadoora, Machua and Anantnag. In Srinagar, groups of youths held protests in the Batamaloo locality Wednesday morning.
However, security forces are strictly enforcing the curfew and not allowing any movement in Srinagar.
The state government has cancelled the curfew passes issued last week and even journalists are finding it difficult to venture out in the city.
Tuesday’s violence started after the body of a 17-year-old youth was taken out from a stream with locals alleging he was drowned by the security forces during protests in the Gangbugh locality of Srinagar Monday.
The trouble started Tuesday morning itself when security forces opened fire in Gungbugh locality as protests broke out, leaving Fayaz Ahmad Wani, 35, dead.
A stray bullet hit a woman in the chest in Batamaloo locality as she watched clashes on the road from her house and died while being shifted to hospital Tuesday afternoon.
After that, a teenager was killed when security forces opened fire in Maisuma locality.
Amid mounting concern over the situation in the Kashmir Valley, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju said in New Delhi that the Army would stay in Srinagar for as long as it was necessary.
Meanwhile In a major crackdown, Jammu and Kashmir police today arrested Mian Qayoom, President of Kashmir Bar Association, under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
Qayoom has been sent to Hiranagar Prison in Jammu for two years, official sources said.
The state police have launched a major crackdown against mischief-makers throughout the valley.