Kashmir unrest: Fresh protests erupt as curfew eases

(File Photo)
(File Photo)

On Sunday, following a high-level meeting, J&K Government decided to relax curfew in entire Kashmir from August 29 except in the town of Pulwama  and some areas under the jurisdiction of M R Gunj and Nowhatta in downtown Srinagar.

The decision to lift curfew was taken at a high-level meeting on August 28, after parts of Srinagar showed some perceptible improvement in the situation.

On Sunday, according to a statement issued by the Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir, just three stray incidents of stone pelting were reported from Sangam, Ashajipora in Anantnag and Nadigam in Shopian.

“Barring these three incidents, overall situation remained peaceful and under control across the valley,” the police statement said. “Increased movement of vehicular traffic and people was observed in major areas of the valley including city Srinagar”.

This emboldened the administration to try lifting of curfew from all but a few areas on Monday.  The gamble has largely paid off, even though some of the areas where curfew was relaxed have plunged back into turmoil.

Soon after curfew was relaxed, Srinagar locality of Batamaloo witnessed fresh protests.  The youth clashed with the police and paramilitary personnel around Ziyarat, and Rekki Chowk and the other adjoining areas of the locality. Police resorted to aerial firing and had to also fire tear gas shells when the mob tried to march towards Batamaloo bus stand.

Similarly, clashes also erupted at Kuloosa area of Bandipora.  There were clashes at Mazhama, Kremshoora,  Chadoora too.

Interestingly in Srinagar, a protest was led by Sikh groups – Shiromani Akali Dal Amritsar, International Sikh Federation and Sikh Students Federation – which called for “UN-monitored plebiscite” in Kashmir.

“Kashmir is in turmoil because of the unresolved nature of Kashmir dispute,” said Narinder Singh Khalsa who led the protesters. “Only implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir will bring permanent peace to the state and the region”.

Clashes also broke out at Hangigund area of Chadoora in central Kashmir’s Budgam district which injured several people. There were also clashes at Kremshora village of Khansahib area of central Kashmir after government forces tried to break up a pro-freedom rally.

At Mazhama protests erupted against the detention of a local youth Ajaz Ahmad Wani. The people took to streets along Srinagar-Gulmarg highway and pelted stones.

Police have detained all major separatist leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.  Mirwaiz has been detained at sub-jail near famous Mughal Garden Chashma Shahi. This is for the first time that Mirwaiz has been formally arrested.