Second day of short curfew relaxations in Kashmir valleyAugust 28th, 2008 - 12:05 pm ICT by IANS
Srinagar, Aug 28 (IANS) Curfew restrictions in the Kashmir valley would be relaxed in a phased manner for the second day Thursday to allow people to buy essential items like food and medicines, police said.”Curfew restrictions would be relaxed in the afternoon to provide relief to the people. The timings and duration of curfew relaxation would be determined by the various executive magistrates in consultation with the police,” a police officer told IANS.
The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service Thursday began its fortnightly run across the Line of Control (LoC) - the de-facto border between India and Pakistan. Authorities had made announcements here that the tickets for the bus would be treated as curfew passes so that passengers could reach the bus stand.
Two protesters were killed and 10 others, including three security personnel, were injured during the curfew relaxation in the valley Wednesday.
One protester was killed in the north Kashmir town of Handwara, about 75 km from here, when a mob reportedly attacked security forces after coming out of a local mosque where they had gathered to pray.
Another protester died in firing on stone pelting demonstrators by security forces in Soibug village in Badgam district.
An indefinite curfew had been imposed in all the 10 districts of the valley at 4 a.m. Sunday to thwart a proposed separatist march to Lal Chowk, the city centre of the state’s summer capital Srinagar, Monday.
Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq were arrested late Sunday, while Muhammad Yasin Malik, chairman of the pro-freedom Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was arrested Monday to prevent their participation in the separatist march. The three are still in police custody.
Authorities Wednesday arrested Ashraf Sehrai, senior leader of Geelani’s Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party, Asiya Andrabi, the chief of women’s separatist group Dukhtaran-e-Milat and a dozen other middle rung separatist leaders from across the valley.
The joint coordination committee of the separatists said here Thursday that the arrest of their leaders will not slow down their campaign.
Masrat Alam, one of the leaders of the coordination committee, told reporters: “People should raise slogans against India and in favour of freedom and Islam. The arrest of our leaders will not dampen our spirits and resolve for liberation”.
Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing widespread violent protests for more than two and a half months nows. The protests were triggered following a dispute over 40 hectares of forest land allotted to the Hindu Amarnath shrine board. The land transfer was later cancelled. When the land allotment decision was reversed July 1 following a Muslim backlash in the valley, Hindus in the Jammu region staged demonstrations, blocking the movement of goods to the valley for some days.
More than 45 people have died, mostly in police and paramilitary firing, in the turmoil, which has been stoked both by separatist leaders in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley and Hindu groups in Jammu.
The unrest also breathed life into the separatist movement in Kashmir which witnessed huge rallies in the last fortnight. The largest demonstration in two decades took place last Friday when tens of thousands of Kashmiris, including women, gathered in an open area of the Eidgah grounds in Srinagar’s old city to demand “freedom” from India.