Authorities brace for separatist Monday march


Srinagar, July 24: Separatist leaders in Kashmir have called for a protest march on Monday to Anantnag in the worst hit south Kashmir region in the recent unrest, throwing a security challenge to the authorities in the state.

Police sources told media persons that the government won’t allow the march and strict curfew would continue in major towns and cities of the Kashmir Valley.

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Normal traffic won’t be allowed on the Srinagar-Jammu highway that passes through south Kashmir, which has seen most of the over 45 deaths in clashes between security forces and protesters in the deadliest unrest the valley has witnessed in years.

The violence broke out after the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Authorities imposed strict curfew across the valley a day after the killing of Wani who was popular among Kashmir’s new generation.

The restrictions were partially lifted in four districts on Sunday.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yaseen Malik on Sunday reiterated their call for the Monday march to Anantnag and extended their shutdown call till Friday.

“As per the programme, glowing tributes will be paid to the recent martyrs and all the martyrs of Kashmir’s resistance movement at the historic Lal Chowk in Islamabad (Anantnag) district on Monday,” they said in a statement.

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They asked people to observe a shutdown up to 2 p.m. on Tuesday when it will be relaxed till evening.

They also called for a “complete shutdown” and a protest march to south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on Wednesday. On Thursday, they asked people to continue with the shutdown and assemble in their areas and stage peaceful protests.

On Friday, they asked people to march to Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid and participate in a public rally.

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