SRINAGAR: Strict curfew has been imposed in parts of Kashmir to prevent the 'Referendum March' called by the Hurriyat leadership as part of its protest program against the spate of civilian killings in the valley.

A large contingent of police and paramilitary forces have been deployed outside the homes of veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to prevent them from marching towards Lal Chowk for participating in the ‘Referendum March’.

"All the roads leading to Lal Chowk have been sealed and police and paramilitary forces are deployed in strength in areas around the marketplace to prevent any law and order problems," a senior police official said.

The death toll in the ongoing civil uprising climbed to 58 on Saturday after a youth, Suhail Ahmad Wani, who was critically injured after a senior government official's PSO opened fire on demonstrators in south Kashmir's Lethpora on August 2, succumbed at SKIMS today.

Fresh clashes have erupted in parts of Kashmir against the civilian killings with at least 12 cops, including an officer, injured in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district during clashes between protesters and government forces.

Police sources said a constable hit by a stone on his head during clashes was airlifted to Srinagar for advanced treatment. According to reports, nearly dozen protesters were also wounded in the clashes.

According to police sources and independent witnesses, protests and clashes are taking place in other parts of Kashmir region including summer capital Srinagar, Pulwama, Anantnag, Ganderal, Budgam, Shopian, Baramulla and Sopore.

Officials said curfew and restrictions will continue in ten districts of the valley which have been on the edge following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani last month.

Although vehicular traffic has started appearing on the roads in almost all parts of the valley, except south Kashmir districts, there is palpable fear in the air due to the heightened presence of police and paramilitary forces.

Nearly 260 civilian protesters were wounded in fresh escalation yesterday when thousands, after attending Friday prayers, staged protests and marches on the call of the Hurriyat leadership in different parts of the region against the civilian killings.

Anticipating protests, authorities curtailed services of both postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers, excluding the state owned BSNL, since Thursday night with the service of postpaid subscribers resumed on Saturday .

(Cover photo by BASIT ZARGAR)