Kashmir unrest: Curfew, shutdown continue to cripple life

Srinagar, Aug 26 (IANS) There was no let up in the government-imposed curfew and separatist-called shutdown on Friday, the 49th day of Kashmir unrest that has brought life to a standstill in the troubled valley.

Police said the strict curfew will continue without any relaxation in Anantnag, Pulwama, Badgam, Shopian and Srinagar city while restrictions on the assembly of four or more persons will remain in force elsewhere in the valley.

The security restrictions were tightened amid apprehensions that separatist leaders may stoke further trouble as they have asked people to gather in Eidgah prayer grounds for a pro-freedom protest rally in the heart of the volatile old Srinagar city.

The separatist leaders, who have been detained in their houses since the unrest began on July 9, had planned midday congregational prayers at the Eidgah, which also houses a graveyard for those killed in militancy-related violence in the last 28 years.

But the government thwarted the protest march to the sprawling prayer ground.

Police deployment outside the upscale Hyderpora residence of hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was beefed up to prevent the octogenarian separatist from moving out and leading the rally.

Chairman of the moderate Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was held from his house and lodged at the nearby Nigeen police station on Thursday evening. The top cleric had planned to address his supporters over the phone to mark the August 25, 1989 police raid on Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid.

The Mirwaiz’s detention continued a day later.

Kashmir has been on the boil since the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani that triggered the unrest – the deadliest the valley has suffered in six years.

Sixty-nine people, including two policemen, have been killed and over 11,000 injured in the unending cycle of violence.

A spokesperson for Doctors Association of Kashmir said various health facilities in the valley had received over 7,000 civilian injured in the last seven weeks. Most have been wounded by dangerous pellet guns.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, here for two days for talks on seeking ways to break the logjam, said on Thursday that more than 4,000 security personnel have been injured by stones thrown by Kashmiri protesters.

The Home Minister made a passionate appeal for peace in Kashmir but cut no ice with separatist leaders.

He said the government was ready to hold peace talks with anyone who believes in democracy, humanity and Kashmiriyat – a Kashmiri spirit of living in harmony.

–IANS

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