JEHANGIR ALI | 21 JULY, 2016
Kashmir Remains Shut, Protests and Deaths Cycle Continues
SRINAGAR: Kashmir Valley remains under curfew on the thirteenth day of the civilian uprising with the separatist leadership withdrawing strike call for two hours today afternoon for people to "stock up essentials", while extending the shutdown till July 25.
Tension simmers in the Valley where another civilian protester, who was shot by forces last week in Lolab region, succumbed to injuries at Srinagar, taking the toll of killed civilians to 45.
Family sources said Ghulam Mohammad Mir, 50, was hit by a bullet when forces opened fire on a protest demonstration in Khumriyal area in Lolab region of Kupwara district on July 15.
Doctors said he was admitted to SMHS Hospital in Srinagar in critical condition where he succumbed Wednesday afternoon. According to a police statement, the deceased had "got a blunt injury on his head, the cause of which is being ascertained by the police".
The death sparked massive protests at the hospital where anti-India and pro-freedom slogans were chanted.
Fresh sloganeering broke out today morning in the hospital when the police raided the stalls of voluntary organisations serving the wounded in the ongoing unrest, ordering them to vacate the premises.
Three more civilian protesters were injured in fresh firing by the Army yesterday in Pulwama. A local news agency, quoting an unnamed police official, said "at least three youth were wounded after soldiers of Army's 55 RR" opened fire on protesters in Lassipora area of Pulwama.
The official said protesters had blocked the road and they "attacked" army vehicles with stones. "The injured have been shifted to hospital,” he said.
Last evening, nocturnal protests broke out across the Valley following the call of the separatists to observe a 'Black Day'. Reports of locals shutting down lighting in their homes and streets to protest the civilian killings were received from all parts of the Valley.
According to a police officer, the situation in the Valley remains "under control", although incidents of stone pelting have been reported from "Baramulla, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Bandipora and Srinagar city," the officer said.
"There will be no relaxation in curfew and restrictions across the Kashmir Valley. The curfew and restrictions will remain strictly in place through out the day till further orders," a statement issued by police on Thursday said.
The J&K government yesterday ordered its employees working in the summer capital Srinagar to report to their duties, saying their identity cards will be treated as curfew passes, while as schools in four districts, which have been "relatively calm", were also directed to resume work.
However, according to reports, no school has opened in any of the four districts while normal life remains paralysed in most parts of the Valley, including Srinagar where shops, business establishments and petrol pumps are shut while as the government offices and banks are recording thin attendance.
Mobile telephony, except BSNL, and mobile internet services also remain shut.
Meanwhile, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti chaired an All Party Meeting in Srinagar today to work out ways of bringing normalcy in the Valley. The National Conference, the principal Opposition party whose working president, Omar Abdullah, yesterday met the Governor NN Vohra, boycotted the meeting.
(Cover Photo: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti holds all party meeting. BASIT ZARGAR)