War of Wits: Govt Bid to Outsmart Hurriyat Fails

Srinagar: After facing widespread criticism for imposing curfew to counter the afternoon relaxation in shutdown announced by the separatists on July 21, the PDP-led ruling dispensation Tuesday came up with a new method to counter the separatist strike.

The government announced lifting of curfew in the morning itself and withdrew bulk of forces from the streets. They did it with the hope that people will come out in large numbers and open markets, police sources said. This would have also meant defiance of the shutdown call of the separatists by the weary public confined indoors for last 17 days.

The separatists have united in issuing protest calendars. Today they had announced relaxation in shutdown after 2 pm, asking people to stock essential commodities for future.

Last week the government imposed curfew to foil Hurriyat relaxation. However, there was widespread censure of the government’ decision. Government was accused of fighting war of egos with separatists.

“This seems a war of wits and egos played by the government with the separatists. Instead of fighting ego-war with them, the government must fix accountability to stem street anger,” Hanan Muhammad, a university student said.

According to PTK news agency authorities Monday night decided to do the opposite of its last employed tactic. “It is a move to sense the public mood in order to make people feel normal so that they get disinterested in following the shutdown calls given by separatists”, it said quoting an unnamed police official.

This is the first time since July 8 that government and separatist have been found on the same side asking people to resume daily chorus of life.

However as the day progressed mobs ruled streets defying both government and the separatist leaders by enforcing a virtual curfew across Srinagar.

As per Hurriyat calendar, there is a call for Kulgam Chalo on Wednesday to pay homage to the civilians killed there since July 8. It will be interesting to see who scores in the battle of wits in coming days.

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