1 more killed, toll 45; Curfew continues in valley

Curfew remained in force in Kashmir and normal life paralyzed for the 10th day on Sunday in the wake of clashes following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani that left 45 persons dead and over 3100 injured.

A youth was shot dead in Saderkote area of Bandipora on Sunday evening after youth were protesting the killing of Commander Burhan Wani. An unidentified lady was also injured in the firing. “Curfew shall continue in all the ten districts of the Valley,” a senior police official said. “Security forces have been instructed to allow movement of patients along with their attendants.”

“People going to the airport will not face any hardship as air tickets were being treated as curfew passes,” official added. The death toll in the ongoing violence reached 44 after an unruly mob torched a police picket in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday. Police opened fire at the mob resulting in death of a youth. All vernacular and English dailies suspended publication for second day on Sunday.

State government officials said newspaper owners had been asked to suspend publications until July 19.

Cable television operations were allowed on Saturday evening after remaining suspended for a day. The resumption of cable television was allowed after operators agreed to stop broadcasting all Pakistani TV channels and two private Indian channels.

Mobile phone internet and call operations remained suspended in south Kashmir for the eighth day and stayed suspended for the second day in central and north Kashmir on Sunday. Mobile phone operations without internet facility are, however, continuing on postpaid numbers provided by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Train services between north Kashmir Baramulla and Banihal town in the Jammu region also remained suspended. All recruitment interviews scheduled for the next four days have been cancelled by the state public service commission (PSC).

All schools, colleges and universities in the valley were also shut down. Senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmad Shah have been either placed under house arrest or taken into preventive custody to restrain them from participating in protests. Separatists have appealed people to continue the shutdown until Monday.

The shutdown in the valley started on July 9 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in a gunfight with security forces on July 8. The separatists groups — both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF — have been issuing strike calls, a practice reminiscent of 2010 summer agitation. The separatists groups have extended the strike call till Monday evening.

A youth identified as Sajad Ahmad from Manigam area of Ganderbal district is battling for life at SKIMS hospital at Soura after he was critically injured by a volley of pellets fired by forces on Friday. He has received serious injuries in his heart and liver and is now in Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.

All the major roads across the valley had been sealed off with concertina wires by the forces and nobody was allowed to come out of their houses. Meanwhile, about two thousand additional CRPF personnel are being rushed to violence-hit Kashmir Valley.

Official said that a total of 20 fresh companies (100 personnel in each) are being rushed to the Valley which will be in addition to 2,800 Central Reserve Police Force personnel which were sent to assist the state police last week. They said the additional reinforcements will be deployed to further enhance the security arrangements in the Valley, where the outbreak of violence following the dead of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani has left 39 persons dead and over 3,100 injured.

“Some of the fresh units will exclusively render the task of road opening parties in order to secure the movement of security forces convoys,” a senior official said. About 60 battalions (about 1,000 in personnel each) are already stationed in the state as part of counter insurgency grid. Curfew remained in force in Kashmir and normal life paralyzed for the ninth day today.


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