Day 23: Curfew, restrictions cripple life in Kashmir

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Life remained crippled for the 23rd day today due to curfew, restrictions and strike in Kashmir valley, where 53 persons, including three women, were killed and over 3000 others were injured in security firing since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Kokernag in south Kashmir.

A police constable driver died after he alongwith his vehicle was pushed into river Jehlum in south Kashmir by a mob while another policeman was killed in a grenade attack on a police station in Kulgam during the period. More than 3000 security and police personnel were also injured in the violent protests across the valley.

Official sources said that curfew and restrictions on assembly of more than five people under Section 144 of CrPC remained imposed in major town and tehsil headquarters today, when separatists had extended general strike till August 5 in protest against the civilian killings.

People continued to suffer in the Shehar-e-Khas (SeK) and Down Town, where curfew restrictions continued for 23rd day today as security forces and state police personnel, wearing bullet proof jackets, leg-guards and holding automatic weapons and shields remained deployed.

The historic Jamia Masjid in the down town remained closed as main gates of the mosque have been locked. For the third consecutive Fridays no prayers would be offered in the Masjid, where chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference addresses congregation every week.

All roads leading to Jamia Masjid, stronghold of chairman Mirwaiz remained closed with barbed wire and by parking bullet proof vehicles in the middle of roads.

Mirwaiz, remained under house arrest since July 9 morning though he was taken into custody twice for several hours for defying restrictions in between, including Friday.

Hundreds of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed around the Masjid and nobody was being allowed to enter there.

The residents living on both sides of the Nallahmar from Chattabl to Khanyar alleged that they were not being allowed to move out of their homes by the security forces who are making announcement directing people to remain indoor.

There is no change in the situation since July 9, when curfew was imposed for the first time after the killing of Burhan. We are facing shortage of essentials, including milk, bread, vegetables and medicines; they alleged and said almost daily there are protests in the evening.

The residents alleged that business and other activities remained paralysed either due to curfew or strike though some shops are opening late in the night in the interior city.

Strict curfew remained imposed and nobody was being allowed even to move out of their houses, the residents of Rainawari alleged.

Main and other roads have been closed and security forces were directing people to remain indoors.

Though curfew has been lifted in Maisuma, stronghold of JKLF chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik in the civil lines, large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed. Barbed wire on roads leading to Maisuma from Budshah Chowk, Haji Masjid and Madina chowk have also been lifted. However barbed wire remained on bylane leading to JKLF chief’s house.

Additional security forces remained deployed elsewhere in the Srinagar district, where life remained paralysed due to strike. Transport remained off the roads. However, some private vehicles and two wheelers could be seen plying in the civil lines and uptown only.  The State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses also remained off the roads.

However, in some areas shops and business establishments are functioning for few areas in the night. The separatist had also asked people to do business in the evening and continue strike during the day till August 5.

Meanwhile, curfew remained in force in Immam Sahib in south Kashmir’s Shopian, where only restrictions on assembly of people were imposed in the rest of the district.

But, hundreds of security forces and state police personnel, wearing bulletproof jackets and holding automatic weapons, continued to remain deployed in the district to stop protests and maintain law and order situation.

Security forces also remained deployed in south Kashmir’s Pulwama to enforce strict curfew in the town and restrictions on assembly of people in rest of the district.

However, people in Pampora on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Pulwama allege that they were not being allowed to come out of their houses since early morning today.

“Security forces have been making announcements since early today that curfew has been imposed in the area. They have been directing people to remain indoors or face consequences,” Ajaz Saleem, a resident of Pampora, said over the phone.

He alleged that even medical shops were not being allowed to up their shutters, putting the lives of patients, who are on life saving drugs, at grave danger.

Life continued to remain paralyzed due to curfew restrictions in Srinagar’s uptown area of Batamaloo, where hundreds of people offered ‘asar nimaz’ afternoon prayers on roads yesterday to protest against the killings of civilians in security forces firing since July 9.

Restriction on assembly of people also continued in entire north Kashmir, where security forces remained deployed in strength to maintain law and order.

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