Land row: Srinagar tense as Malik refuses to end fast

August 9th, 2008 - 3:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 9 (IANS) Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik’s deteriorating health sparked fresh protests here Satuday as the tension over the Amarnath land row, which has been wreaking havoc in Jammu and Kashmir for the past five weeks, refuses to die down. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman has been on an indefinite fast in Srinagar since Tuesday against the “economic blockade” and alleged harassment of Muslims in the Jammu region.

Malik was admitted to the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, where doctors said he was refusing food.

Though his condition was stable, the doctors were worried because of his refusal to take oral food or medication, said hospital sources.

The land row has nearly divided the state on communal lines with conflicting claims from the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and Hindu-dominated Jammu region. At least 15 people have died in clashes with the police. Protesters in Jammu had even blocked the supply of essential commodities to the valley furthering the communal divide.

Groups of youth shouting pro-freedom slogans took out processions in city centre Lal Chowk and in parts of old city Saturday.

At Soura in the city outskirts some youth were seen pelting stones on passing vehicles.

This led to tension, forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters.

Though separatist leaders had asked the businesses community here to resume their day to day activities, yet spontaneous protests led to fresh tension in the state’s summer capital which has been observing a shutdown since Monday.

Publication of some photos of Jammu violence against Muslims also sparked tension in areas including south Kashmir’s Anantnag and Kulgam, central Kashmir’s Magam town and north Kashmir’s Ganderbal district.

Police raided the office of local Urdu daily Etalaat here, according to the management of the daily.

“They seized copies of our paper in Srinagar and other places and harassed us,” said a staffer of the paper, which had carried the photos.

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