Day 45: Curfew, shutdown, protests continue in Kashmir

BSF deployed in city centre after 12 years

Srinagar: The curfew, shutdown and protests continued in Kashmir Valley continued on 45th day after the killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzzafar Wani while as Border Security Force (BSF) personnel were deployed in Lal Chowk in city centre after a gap of 12 years.

All the entry and exit points leading to Old City – where a youth was killed yesterday during clashes – were sealed off by government forces with razor wires, barricades and mobile bunkers a curfew continued to remain in place. On Sunday evening, a youth namely Irfan Ahmad Malik was killed after being hit by a police teargas shell at Malarata in Old City’s Bohri Kadal area.

The youth, who was a resident of Fateh Kadal area of downtown Srinagar, died at SMHS hospital. The killing sparked off massive protests in Old City as thousands took to streets. The funeral of youth held at historic Jama Masjid in which thousands participated and he was later buried at martyrs’ graveyard Eidgah in late hours amid massive protests.

The curfew was also imposed in Maisuma and Batamaloo areas of civil lines but the restrictions were eased in Lal Chowk in the day hours till 5 pm. But, in an unusual development, the BSF made a comeback in city after 12 years as border guards were deployed across Lal Chowk since morning hours. The BSF, which played primary role in crushing militancy in Srinagar, was withdrawn in year 2004 and was replaced by CRPF.

Besides curfew and protests, the shutdown continued across Kashmir Valley. All the shops, commercial establishments, education institutions and most of the banks remained closed. The government offices including Civil Secretariat continue to witness low attendance of the employees. But the curfew continued in Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag townships.

Meanwhile, protests erupted in Fateh Kadal area of downtown against the killing of youth. Scores of men, women and children while defying curfew took to streets and staged pro-freedom and anti-India protests. Reports said that clashes erupted in several areas of Old City after curfew was lifted by forces.

A police official said that the day passed off without major incident of violence even as protests and clashes occurred in few areas of the Valley. According to the official, the clashes erupted at Lalpora, Natnoosa villages of Kupwara, Saalia village of Aishmuqam in Annantnag and Ganawpora in Shopian.

“At least five to six persons were injured in the clashes,” the police official said, adding that peaceful protests were held in Bandipora and few other areas of Valley.

Meanwhile, the two foreign militants killed at Nowhatta on August 15 during an encounter have been buried at Jabdi village of Baramulla near Line of Control. Police however have not revealed their identities. A commanding officer of the CRPF was also killed in the encounter. (GNS)