Nocturnal protests create panic in Kashmir

August 16th, 2008 - 12:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 16 (IANS) An uneasy quiet descended here early Saturday after nocturnal protests called by the separatist Hurriyat Conference, during which people in some areas beat tin roofs and shouted slogans against security forces, creating panic in the Kashmir Valley. Repeated announcements were made through mosque loudspeakers late Friday, asking people to come out on their rooftops and protest against the alleged police and paramilitary excesses.

People also observed a “black out” for one hour by switching off electric bulbs in many areas.

A few private vehicles could be seen plying in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir Saturday morning after days of shutdown and curfew.

Though there was no shutdown call for the day, separatist leaders asked people to take out processions to the south Kashmir town of Pampore, 16 km from here, where they will pay tributes to their slain colleague Sheikh Abdul Aziz.

Aziz was killed in police firing Aug 11, when thousands of Kashmiris, alleging an “economic blockade” by Jammu protesters, attempted to cross over the the Line of Control (LoC) - the de-facto border between India and Pakistan - in north Kashmir.

The valley has been witnessing unprecedented violence and public frenzy following the bitter Amarnath land row, which has nearly brought the state to the brink of division on religious lines.

More than 40 people have died, mostly in police firing, in the last two months of violent protests in Hindu-dominated Jammu and mainly Muslim Kashmir Valley.

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