Uneasy calm in curfew-bound Kashmir Valley (Second Lead)

October 5th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Oct 5 (IANS) Indefinite curfew was imposed on the Kashmir Valley Sunday, a day before separatist leaders planned to hold a sit-in here.The day passed off without any major untoward incident as Yaseen Malik, chairman of the pro-independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, was arrested.

All the 10 districts of the Kashmir Valley were brought under the curfew to prevent the proposed sit-in at city centre Lal Chowk.

Vehicles with loudspeakers were seen at the crack of dawn announcing that curfew was being imposed and that people should remain indoors. “Those defying curfew restrictions would be dealt with sternly,” the announcement said.

“Restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPc (Criminal Procedure Code) would remain in force till further orders throughout the valley,” Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda told IANS.

There were reports of a small protest in north Kashmir’s Baramulla old town area but the protesters later dispersed peacefully. But the situation, according to official sources, remained by and large peaceful throughout the valley.

“The situation remained peaceful in the entire valley, as curfew restrictions continued without any relaxation,” a police officer told IANS.

The police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in strength to enforce the curfew restrictions. City centre Lal Chowk remained the focus of the security forces where all entry points were sealed with razor-fitted wires.

“Curfew restrictions would remain in force for the minimum possible period. The situation is being continuously reviewed,” Khoda said.

In order to ensure that separatists are prevented from mobilizing supporters from semi-urban and rural areas around the summer capital, army soldiers have also been kept available for the assistance of the administration, sources told IANS.

According to JKLF sources, while Malik was arrested from his Maisuma residence in the city late Saturday night, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone and Sajad Gani Lone of the moderate separatist Hurriyat Conference were placed under house arrest.

Hardliner Syed Ali Geelani, who was admitted to the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Saturday after he complained of chest pain, was “stable”, according to doctors.

Separatists had earlier Aug 25 called for a march to Lal Chowk, but the authorities had preempted the call by imposing curfew.

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