Kashmir valley calm amid indefinite curfew (Lead)

August 26th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 26 (IANS) The Kashmir valley remained calm amid indefinite curfew for the third day Tuesday, a day after seven people were killed and at least 70 injured in police and paramilitary firing.Curfew was imposed in the valley Sunday morning to foil a planned sit-in by separatists in Lal Chowk, the city centre of Srinagar.

“The situation throughout the valley was incident free as curfew restrictions continue without any relaxation. We are assessing the situation constantly,” a police officer told IANS here.

There were no reports of curfew violation from anywhere in Srinagar unlike Monday when protesters at many parts of the valley took to streets, defying the authorities.

The coordination committee of the two factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference called for a general shutdown Tuesday against the arrest of three senior separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.

These separatist leaders were arrested here MOnday to prevent their participation in the march to Lal Chowk.

Reports from other nine districts in the valley - Bandipora, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Kupwara, Badgam, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian - said uneasy calm prevailed there amid the curfew.

Over a dozen middle rung separatist leaders have also been arrested and according to sources they have been shifted to jails outside the valley.

The protests in the Kashmir valley followed a dispute over 40 hectares of forest land allotted to a Hindu shrine board. The allotment was later revoked. Around 50 people have died, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, in the nearly three month long turmoil, which has been stoked by both separatist leaders in Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and Hindu extremists in Jammu. The unrest also breathed life into the separatist movement of Muslim Kashmiris.

Tens of thousands of Kashmiri Muslims shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans joined marches during the last fortnight, which were called by separatists to internationalise the Kashmir dispute.

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