Kashmir Valley tense, army called in (Roundup)

July 7th, 2010 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, July 7 (IANS) A day after violent protests saw the killing of four people in firing by the security forces, the Kashmir Valley was “tense but peaceful” Wednesday, officials said. The Indian Army conducted flag marches through Srinagar to restore law and order and New Delhi sent Home Secretary G.K. Pillai to review the situation.
“The overall law and order situation across the valley was tense, but under control. Except for a few sporadic incidents where protesters trying to defy curfew were chased away by police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the curfew was enforced strictly in the areas since yesterday (Tuesday) evening,” a senior police officer told IANS here.

For the first time in 13 years, the army was deployed to assist the administration.

Soldiers in machine-gun mounted vehicles drove through various localities of this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, including the city centre Lal Chowk, Batamaloo, Bemina and Qamarwari localities.

Earlier in the day, the army, which was called in after the state government’s request, marched from 15 Corps headquarters to the Srinagar airport.

However, official sources assured that the army would not be used for crowd control in Srinagar.

There was curfew defiance in several places including Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Chadoora, Machua and Anantnag towns.

In Srinagar, groups of youths held protests in the Batamaloo locality.

However, security forces are strictly enforcing the curfew and not allowing any movement in Srinagar.

The state government has cancelled the curfew passes issued last week and even journalists are finding it difficult to venture out in the city.

The managements of all the newspapers have decided not to publish papers Thursday as they said their staff was disallowed from news gathering across the valley by the authorities.

The authorities arrested Main Qayoom, the president of the Kashmir Bar Association and a close associate of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

“Qayoom has been arrested under the Public safety Act (PSA),” a senior police officer said.

Sources also said the state administration has decided to book all major separatist leaders and ensure that their programmes announced on a weekly basis do not get publicity.

As reports came in of more protests and curfew orders being defied, union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai reached here Wednesday afternoon to review the law and order situation.

Tuesday’s violence started after body of a 17-year-old youth was taken out from a stream and the locals alleging that he was drowned by the security forces during protests in the Gangbugh locality of Srinagar Monday.

The security forces later opened fire in Gungbugh locality during protests kiling Fayaz Ahmad Wani, 35.

In the afternoon, a stray bullet hit a woman in Batamaloo locality as she watched clashes on the road from her house. She died while being shifted to the hospital.

The fourth casuality was a teenager who was killed when security forces opened fire in Maisuma locality.

Amid mounting concern over the situation in the Kashmir Valley, union Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju said in New Delhi that the army would stay in Srinagar for as long as it was necessary.

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