Kashmir Valley on boil, tourism suffers (Lead)

June 2nd, 2009 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 2 (IANS) Violent protests over the alleged rape and murder of two women in a Kashmir village hit normal life in the valley for the second day Tuesday as the growing tourist season also suffered in the wake of tensions running high.
Strict restrictions were in place in Srinagar even as angry mobs clashed with security forces at several places.

At least 12 people were injured in clashes between protestors and police, said Ashok Bhan, director general of police (Criminal Investigation Department).

Bhan, however, said there was no major untoward incident in the valley.

The police chief said the present situation and frequent violence in the valley had adversely affected the tourist arrivals in Kashmir.

“On May 31, we had 3,600 tourist arrivals and today (Tuesday) this has fallen to just 2,700 a day,” he said.

Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti led a protest demonstration in the heart of the city following which there were rumours that she has been arrested.

But the director general of police denied that Mufti was taken into custody.

“Mehbooba Mufti took out a procession of around 400 of her supporters from the Sher-e-Kashmir Park in the city and when they reached Maisuma, some miscreants started pelting stones at them.

“We then took Mehboobaji and her supporters to safety,” he said.

“They were escorted to a police station where their vehicles had been parked and were asked to board the vehicles to leave.

“Mehbooba and many of her supporters entered the police station and refused to leave claiming they had been taken into custody which is not a fact,” Bhan said.

Separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has called for a three-day protest shutdown till Wednesday against the alleged rape and murder of two women - Nilofar Jan 22, and Asiya Jan, 17, in south Kashmir Shopian town Saturday.

The bodies of the two victims were recovered from a stream.

The state government has ordered a judicial probe into the suspicious deaths of the two women and the probe is to be carried out by a retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

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