Sheikh Imran Bashir
Srinagar: On Saturday Life returned to normal in Kashmir Valley as the clock struck 2 pm, youths hit the roads forcing closure of businesses and shops and within minutes the markets wore a deserted look.
An uneasy calm prevails in the Kashmir Valley. Schools and business establishments have reopened after a 21 daylong strike. Vehicles too have come back on the roads but the relief was short-lived as separatists again enforced shutdown and clashed with police.
People resumed their normal activities and markets and private offices are functioning. There are traffic snarls due to the heavy rush of people till 2 pm.
Traffic jams were witnessed on many roads in view of the heavy rush of people as curbs of curfew and prohibitory order were gone.
Banks and ATMs witnessed huge rush too with the people standing in long queues for hours to make the transactions. The residents of Srinagar, particularly old city and uptown Maisuma where undeclared curfew was clamped following the outbreak of protests after the civilian killings heaved a sigh of relief as the restrictions were eased today.
A senior police officer told Agence India Press that there were no restrictions anywhere in the Valley.
Mohammad Amin, a teacher told Agence India Press that, there is a huge impact on the education and if you see, indirectly, other organizations have also been affected but as far as education is concerned, it has suffered a lot, I would say a big setback, because a student thinks that, ‘I have to come in a class and have to watch different things, and want to know’, and with lot of hard work, we train their minds by educating them on different subjects. But when they come to college after 15-20 days, their minds get totally changed and distracted.
Though, as the clock struck 2.00 in the afternoon, streets wore a deserted look again with youths enforcing shutdown at many places and clashing with police six people were injured in a clash between stone-pelters and police in the Valley on Saturday.
In Pulwama the markets opened for an hour with youths descending on the roads and hurling stones to enforce a shutdown, the sources said.
In Baramulla, district of North Kashmir, six people, including an assistant sub-inspector of police, were injured in a clash between stone-hurlers and police.
The clash ensued when police chased away some youths enforcing the strike, the sources said adding stones were also hurled at shops and passing vehicles in some areas in the city but no one was hurt.
Meanwhile Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to update them about the latest in the valley.
He met Chidambaram for a brief but crucial meeting at his residence in New Delhi.
Abdullah said he had an extensive discussion with the home minister on ‘our assessment of the situation in the state now, where we are today and the way forward’.
‘We discussed the requirements in terms of non-lethal equipments for the state police force and paramilitary forces to control large crowds. However, the primary aim (of the meeting) was to discuss our plan of action in the days and weeks to come to deal with the present situation,’ he said.
Omar said ‘the cycle of deaths’ has ended now. ‘We have been able to control the situation. There have been no casualties in the last week and even though people are coming out on the roads, the size and intensity of the protests have decreased.’
Meanwhile, the lawyers in Srinagar burn black coats to protest the detention of Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom while as they threaten to launch massive street protests in case the senior advocate was not released unconditionally.
Scores of lawyers from Kashmir High Court Bar Association took staged protests outside the lower Court in Srinagar.
Later on, lawyers burnt the black coats, asserting that there was “no value of their profession” in Kashmir valley.
“We protest against the Indian atrocities, ongoing crackdown,” G.N. Shaheen, general secretary of bar told media. “We want unconditional release of Mian Abdul Qayoom and all political detainees,” he added.
He said that incase Qayoom was not released immediately; the lawyers would stage protests in every nook and corner of the state. The lawyers have already announced to boycott courts till July 19.
The situation in the valley became tense on 11th June when security forces were accused of killing a teenage boy. Authorities had to order security forces to arrest activists and undertake flag marches in Srinagar to bring the situation under control.