Kashmir calmer as Modi, Mehbooba appeal for peace (Roundup)

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Srinagar, July 12 (IANS) Barring stray protests in rural areas where security forces shot dead a civilian, large parts of curfew-bound Kashmir Valley were calm on Tuesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed for peace to end days of violence.

While curfew continued for a fourth day in most parts of the valley, the authorities said the situation was under control despite some incidents of arson and mob attacks.

After returning from Africa, Modi chaired a high-level meeting and voiced concern over the incidents of violence in the Kashmir Valley that have left over 30 people dead and hundreds injured in widespread violence since security forces shot dead a top militant on Friday.

In Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described the situation in Kashmir as “a matter of concern for all of us” and urged Kashmiri youths to show “patience and calm” at this “critical and sensitive” hour.

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“Bloodshed will result in nothing. Life comes once. It is our duty to respect and appreciate this Godsend gift,” Mebooba said in a passionate appeal in Urdu.

Violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley after security forces killed Burhan Wani, the 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, and two associates in a village on Friday.

The killing of Wani, who had emerged as the new face of Kashmir’s militancy with his Facebook and other social media photos and videos, triggered a vicious cycle of protests by angry mobs and counter violence by security forces.

The protests continued on Tuesday but their intensity was less compared to the last four days.

A police spokesman in Srinagar said a mob attacked a police station in Kralpora village in Kupwara district in north Kashmir and set a police van on fire, trapping some policemen.

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Police fired back, injuring a person who succumbed to his injuries. The latest killing took to 34 the number killed across the valley.

Earlier on Tuesday, Amir Nazir Latoo, who was injured in firing at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s hometown in Bijbehara, succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Srinagar, doctors said.

Police said protesters pelted stones in some areas of south and north Kashmir during which one was injured after he picked up a tear smoke shell that exploded in his hand.

At least three police guard rooms were set ablaze in different villages of south Kashmir, which has been most volatile over past four days. The dead militant commander belonged to this region.

Srinagar remained calm throughout the day even as police reported that some “miscreants lobbed a petrol bomb” targeting paramilitary and police forces in the old city.

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Official sources told IANS here that the curfew will continue on Wednesday – July 13 – the annual official “Martyrdom Day” to remember those who were killed in an uprising against the Dogra autocratic rule in 1931.

Separatist leaders, most of them under house arrest, have called for a march to the martyrs’ graveyard in the old city. The Chief Minister too is scheduled to lay a wreath there.



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