Amid Curfew, Shutdown Uneasy Calm Prevails in Valley

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SRINAGAR: An uneasy calm is prevailing in Kashmir as thousands of paramilitary CRPF and JK police personnel are enforcing a stringent round the clock indefinite curfew across most parts of Kashmir, including capital Srinagar.

Curfew was clamped in 10 districts of  Valley to prevent any protests over the death of a man in Srinagar by CRPF firing on Wednesday.

Tension gripped the capital after 37 year old Altaf Ahmad Wani, father of three minor daughters, succumbed to a bullet injury he sustained in the CRPF firing at Zonimar locality Wednesday, triggering protests in the area. The locals alleged that Altaf was killed in unprovoked firing by CRPF. The CRPF said they opened fire after being subjected to heavy stoning by a mob.

The ruling National Conference called the killing of Altaf “a cold blooded murder”. The party said Altaf was an active worker of the party. Both factions of the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference called for a shutdown to protest the killing.

The curfew also followed a fidayeen strike in Srinagar on Wednesday in which five paramilitary troops were killed.    

Reports of protests and clashes between protestors and government forces have come in from Handwara in north Kashmir. 

People in Kralkhud Handwara were observing peaceful protests at main chowk when a police party passed from the area, locals said. Protestors pelted stones at police personnel resulting in clashes between them.

Police lobbed teargas shells to disperse the protestors.

“Police and CRPF entered into residential houses and smashed house hold goods, beat inmates and used bad language against women”, alleged locals.

People alleged that CRPF personnel went berserk and smashed the window panes of dozens of houses. They blamed that the incident took place in presence of SHO Hajin.

“They not only beat women and children but smashed the window panes and broke the doors of the houses. They even smashed the vehicles,” alleged Haji Mushtaq Ahmed Parray.

He said that when Station House Officer, Hajin was informed about the incident, he in return rebuked us,” Mushtaq alleged.

Eyewitnesses said that CRPF personnel went berserk and whosoever came in their way was beaten. “They smashed the window panes of the houses of Mohammad Maqbool Parray, Dr Abdul Majid Bhat and Imtiyaz Ahmed Shiekh.

Minor stone pelting incidents were also witnessed in Langate. However, later on, agitated youth dispersed peacefully.

Anantnag, Kulgam, Bijbehra, Qaimoh remained under strict curfew while Pulwama and Kakpora were put under strict restrictions restraining the movement of people.

Minor clashes between stone-pelting mobs and police were also reported from other places.

Barring these clashes, the officials said the situation across the Valley was largely peaceful and under control. “Curfew was likely to continue on Friday”, they added.

According to an official spokesman, situation remained largely peaceful throughout the Kashmir valley, though there were isolated incidents of stone pelting at few places.

“Miscreants pelted stones at Kurhama, Badergund in Ganderbal and Safakadal in Srinagar. Police and security forces exercised maximum restraint while dealing with the law and order situations. Eight police personnel were injured during these incidents”, he added.

Pertinently, both factions of Hurriyat Conference had called  for shut down on Thursday. 

Reports from various parts of Kashmir said hawkers were prevented by forces from distributing morning newspapers.

A report from Budgam said police stopped hawkers and distributers there from distributing newspapers.

“A police party visited my shop during wee hours and didn’t allow me to open up the bundles of newspapers. They directed me not to distribute newspapers in the district,” Hilal Ahmed main distributor of Kashmir Observer and other newspapers in Budgam said.

Similar reports have come in from several downtown localities of Srinagar city and Baramulla.

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