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07-22-2010, 10:07 AM
Jammu & Kashmir: Valley reels under curfew, 10 injured

22-07-2010
By Umer Maqbool Dar
Srinagar, J & K, India, (Greater Kashmir): Authorities on Wednesday imposed severe restrictions in several parts of the Valley including downtown Srinagar and imposed curfew in Varmul and Sopur towns to prevent the people from staging sit-ins and protest demonstrations on the call of Hurriyat Conference (G). At least 10 persons were wounded in fresh clashes in Varmul town and elsewhere life continued to remain paralyzed by a complete shutdown.

Anticipating sit-ins and the protests on the call of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani as part of “Quit Jammu and Kashmir campaign”, curfew-like restrictions were imposed in downtown area of the city by deploying hundreds of additional cops and paramilitary CRPF troopers this morning.

The pedestrian and vehicular movement was blocked by laying spools of concertina wires and barricades in the old city areas falling under the jurisdiction of Nowhatta, Rainwari, Mahrajgunj, Khanyar and Safakadal police stations.

In civil lines area of city, police was also deployed in Batamaloo, Tengpora, Qamarwari and other areas.

Curfew was also officially clamped in Varmul town this morning and announcements were made through loudspeakers about curfew imposition in both old town and civil lines areas. The town is on boil for past five days after 13-year old Faizan and 25-year old Fayaz Ahmed were drowned and killed respectively by police.

The entry and exit points of the town, besides three bridges including Cement Bridge, Azad Gunj Bridge and RTC Bridge were sealed to thwart protests.

However, hundreds of youth from old town went in a procession to Binner Rafiabad to express condolences with the family of Fayaz Ahmed Khanday who was killed in police firing two days ago.

Violent protests broke out in the town late evening after hundreds of youth clashed with policemen deployed on bridges. At least 10 persons including six cops were wounded in fierce clashes. The clashes were continuing when this report was filed. Curfew continued in Sopur town today and locals complained about shortage of essential commodities in several areas. Amid restrictions in south Kashmir, protests also broke out in the old town area of Islamabad.

Early in the morning, youth in groups assembled at Mattan Chowk, Kadipora and Iqbalabad and started pelting stones on the police and paramilitary CRPF men, but the protesters were chased away. The locals accused paramilitary CRPF troopers of beating up pedestrians without any provocation.

“After the clashes the CRPF men went berserk and thrashed the civilians who came in their way,” residents said.

After the protests broke out, strict restrictions were imposed in the old town areas and curfew-like situation prevailed in Malakhnag, Cheeni Chowk and Kadipora. After the restrictions were eased, the residents of Kadipora took to streets demanding the removal of the SOG camp in the area.

“The district administration had assured us of removing the camp by Monday, but till this time they have not fulfilled their promise,” residents of Kadipora said, and vowed to continue the protests till the camp was removed.

Late evening, SOG men resorted to aerial firing in the town after youth pelted stones on their vehicle at Laizbal.

The activists of both factions of Hurriyat Conference took out a protest march in Pampore, a local news agency reported.

Restrictions were also imposed in other towns of South Kashmir including Bijbehara, Kulgam, Qaimoh, Pulwama, Kakpora, Shopian, Tral, Awantipora and Pampore.

Complete shutdown was also observed in Bandipora, Kupwara and Ganderbal in north Kashmir as the shops, business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.