Srinagar, April 14 (IANS) Curfew was on Thursday clamped again in parts of a tense Kashmir Valley amid simmering anger over the death of four civilians, killed in alleged firing and tear gas shelling by security forces in the last two days.
As a precautionary measure and to prevent trouble-mongers from spreading rumours, authorities also snapped cellphone internet for the time being.
A senior police told IANS that “restrictions will continue” in parts of old Srinagar city. Restrictions were also imposed in the main business hub of Lal Chowk, amid a valley-wide shutdown call by separatist groups in protest against the civilian deaths.
Curfew was also enforced in the north Kashmir Handwara town and parts of the border district of Kupwara.
Three civilian were killed in Handwara on Tuesday when police fired at an angry mob protesting against the alleged molestation of a teenage girl by an army man. The army has, however, dismissed the allegation as a rumour to malign the force.
A day later, people in Kupwara took to the streets to protest the Handwara deaths. A burning tear gas canister fired by police hit a 25-year-old man on his head. The man later succumbed to the injury.
The police officer said the authorities had made adequate security arrangements in other towns in south and north Kashmir “to ensure that miscreants are prevented from creating any law and order problem”.
Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik, have been placed under house-arrest as they had appealed to people to observe a protest shutdown against the killings.
There was a near-total response to the shutdown call as shops, schools, colleges, offices and other businesses in areas where restrictions have not been imposed remained closed. Public transport was also off the roads in the valley.
Separatists have also called for post-prayer protests on Friday.
The authorities extended the restrictions to mobile and internet services throughout the valley.
Trouble erupted in Handwara after a rumour on Tuesday that a school girl was allegedly molested by an army soldier. However, a video was circulated online in which a girl was shown denying the allegations.
Northern army commander Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda visited Handwara on Wednesday and assured a time-bound inquiry to ascertain facts regarding Tuesday’s incident.
An assistant sub-inspector has been suspended for allegedly “mishandling” the protests in Handwara.