Curfew cripples life in Kashmir, no separatist march (Roundup)

October 6th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Oct 6 (IANS) An uneasy peace prevailed in the Kashmir Valley on the second day of indefinite curfew Monday, thwarting the separatist programme of holding a major rally here.There were no reports of violence or major defiance of the curfew from anywhere in the valley as the authorities had made extensive arrangements to enforce the curfew restrictions to prevent the proposed march to city centre Lal Chowk in summer capital Srinagar.

“The situation remained totally peaceful throughout the Valley and no incident of violence has been reported from anywhere,” B. Srinivas, inspector general of police (Kashmir Zone), told IANS here.

Separatist leaders had called for a sit-in at Lal Chowk sit-in Monday to internationalise the Kashmir issue. The march was earlier planned for Aug 25 but the authorities had even then foiled the rally by imposing curfew.

On Monday, the curfew restrictions also remained in force throughout in all other nine districts of the valley.

A small group of protesters showed up in the lanes and bylanes in old city Safa Kadal area of the city pelting stones at the police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans.

“They were quickly chased away without any injury to anybody,” a police officer said.

Another attempt to defy the curfew restrictions was made by another group of protesters in the Maisuma locality adjacent to Lal Chowk, but here also the protesters were chased away by the police.

In north Kashmir Baramulla town, a group of youth came out in the old town area shouting slogans against Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, whose effigy the protesters later burnt in the town square.

The anti-Zardari protests were taken in the backdrop of the Pakistan president’s remarks calling Kashmiri militants “terrorists” in an interview with Wall Street Journal.

A person carrying a grenade was overpowered by the people in the old town Baramulla, but was later handed over to the police.

“The grenade carrying person is being booked under the provisions of law, and investigations have been started into the case,” a senior police officer said in Srinagar.

Police arrested Maulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, the chief of Jamait-e-Ahle Hadis from his house in Lal Bazaar area of the city. Another leader of the moderate Mirwaiz Hurriyat group, Javaid Ahmad Mir was also arrested.

Shah is a senior separatist leader and a prominent member of the joint co-ordination committee that had called today’s march to Lal Chowk.

All vernacular and English language newspapers in the valley suspended their day’s publication Monday against what the newspaper offices said “insufficient curfew passes issued to journalists and technical staff of the local newspapers by the authorities”.

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