Kashmir Valley peaceful amid curfew, separatist shutdown
By Sheikh Qayoom
Srinagar, May 29: The Kashmir Valley was largely peaceful on Monday amid curfew and restrictions aimed at foiling violence following the killing of Hizbul commander Sarzar Bhat, police said. The government snapped all mobile links in the region.
A police spokesman said restrictions were imposed banning the assembly of more than four people in some violence-prone areas of the valley.
“The situation is peaceful and under control throughout the valley barring a stray stone pelting incident in Tahab village in Pulwama in south Kashmir,” the spokesman said. “A group of miscreants stoned a CRPF camp.”
Police and security forces said they used “maximum restraint” before chasing them away.
Srinagar’s District Magistrate Farooq Ahmed Lone said curfew would continue on Tuesday in seven police stations areas of the city where it was clamped on Sunday.
Similarly, curfew-like restrictions will continue in the south Kashmir districts of Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Anantnag on Tuesday, authorities said.
Restrictions on the assembly of people will remain in force in Ganderbal, Badgam, Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts on Tuesday.
Separatists had given a three-day protest programme on Saturday when the Hizbul commander was killed in a gunfight with security forces in Saimoh village of Pulwama district.
The separatists have called for a march to Tral town on Tuesday. The authorities are determined to prevent the march and clashes between the protesters and security forces during the proposed event.
All educational institutions have been ordered to remain closed in the valley on Tuesday. Internet facility on all mobile phones remained suspended for a third day on Monday.
Curfew and curfew-like restrictions continued in Srinagar city and many other places in the valley. Authorities said these were necessary to maintain law and order.
The valley has been on the edge since Saturday when Hizbul commander Sabzar Bhat was killed by security forces along with his associate Faizan Ahmad.
Both belonged to Rathsuna village of Tral where they were buried in the “martyrs graveyard”. Hundreds attended their burial.
Authorities imposed curfew and restrictions on Sunday to prevent violence in the aftermath of the killing. The separatists asked people to observe a shutdown on Monday and to march to Tral town on Tuesday.
Senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq have been placed under house arrest. JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested and shifted to the Central Jail on Sunday.
All educational institutions have been shut in the valley and exams scheduled for Monday in the university have been postponed. Train services remained suspended for a second consecutive day.
Police said except for six stone-pelting incidents on Sunday, the valley remained peaceful.
The recurring tension has started affecting the tourist flow to the Kashmir Valley. Many hoteliers and others associated with the tourism industry fear losing their livelihood if the situation does not return to normal quickly.
Kashmir had a devastating tourist season last year in the aftermath of the then Hizbul commander Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8. The unrest that followed Wani’s killing lasted for nearly six months during which 94 civilians were killed and hundreds injured.