Kashmir Valley situation improving, claims police chief

August 13th, 2008 - 10:38 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Amarnath Shrine

Srinagar, Aug 13 (IANS) The situation in the Kashmir Valley, on the boil over the Amarnath land transfer controversy, showed signs of improvement Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir’s top police officer said here. Director General of Police (DGP) Kuldeep Khoda said the security forces have been given clear instructions to maintain law and order, but remain people friendly.

Briefing the media here, he said: “The situation today was far better than yesterday though 23 incidents of stone pelting and arson occurred across the valley today.”

The DGP said a mob set a tanker on fire in Bemina on the city outskirts and the office of the Srinagar Development Authority was damaged in the same area.

“At two places, mobs torched private motorcycles of policemen and attempts were made to ransack the police post in Bana Mohalla area of the city. A tourist hut was also burnt in the Charar-e-Sharief area of Badgam district,” Khoda said.

He confirmed one incident of firing by paramilitary forces in Bemina area of city. “One youth was injured in that incident when a mob tried to snatch the weapon of a CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) jawan (trooper),” he said.

The police chief appealed for calm in the valley and said despite the shutdown called by separatists leaders, the movement of tankers and trucks carrying essential commodity supplies must not be obstructed.

“It is important that tankers and trucks carrying essential supplies are not stopped by people. I appeal to everybody to ensure that these are allowed so that the common man here does not suffer,” he said.

The DGP said even after appeals for peace by both the mainstream and separatist politicians, some elements were trying to incite people to violence.

“We are trying to identify such elements so that they are isolated. The funeral procession of Sheikh Abdul Aziz dispersed peacefully yesterday. Appeals were made to people by the separatist leaders at the funeral procession to remain peaceful.”

“We relaxed the curfew from time to time today to provide relief to the people. I hope the situation would be still better tomorrow as it was today in comparison to yesterday,” Khoda said.

The valley has seen violent protests again after similar demonstrations in Jammu over land transfer to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) for pilgrim facilities.

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