54 days of violence in Kashmir and counting

August 4th, 2010 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 4 (IANS) Forty-five dead, 180 injured, curfew with outraged crowds defying prohibitory orders and heavily armed security personnel trawling the streets… the vicious cycle of violence in the Kashmir Valley that began 54 days ago saw tension simmering again Wednesday.
Authorities continued announcements over loudspeakers mounted on police vehicles that drove through curfew bound areas of this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital. Warnings that those who violated curfew would be dealt with sternly echoed through the streets as officials hoped that people would abide by the restrictions.

Shops, educational institutions, banks, post offices, businesses and government offices were shut in several places of the valley. Public and private transport were off the roads, as it has been since June 11 when the valley slipped into violence with protesters clashing with security personnel.

Train services between the south and north of the valley have also been suspended because of curfew as well as due to the rail track being damaged by protesters and stations being set afire in the last few days.

While 17 people were killed from June 11 to July 30, 27 have died in the last five days. Of the 45 killed, most have been killed in firing by security forces.

The hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Geelani has called for protests and shutdowns till Saturday.

The latest resistance programme issued by the group’s underground leader, Masrat Alam, told locals to resume normalcy for a day on Sunday to stock up on essentials.

Geelani was rearrested Tuesday as he tried to take out a march from the hospital in Srinagar, where he had been admitted, to the Eidgah grounds.

He has been taken into preventive custody and continues to remain under the supervision of doctors in Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura (SKIMS).

The central government has sent 20 additional companies of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to assist the state police overcome the law and order crisis.

“Additional companies of CRPF have reached,” a senior police officer said here.

Authorities have succeeded in clearing the Srinagar-Jammu national highway of the blockade by protesters who had felled trees and squatted on the highway during the last three days.

“The highway is open for two-way traffic,” said Shafqat Ahmad Watali, the deputy inspector general of police (South Kashmir).

“There are no reports of any violence so far,” said another senior police officer here Wednesday morning.

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