Day And Night Curfew Fester Humanitarian Crises In Besieged Kashmir

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Srinagar: After keeping seven-odd million people of Kashmir besieged for over 40 long days, the state government has only festered the humanitarian crises by extending the curfew to night hours as well.

The imposition of day and night curfew in the Valley since August 17 morning has put the people of Kashmir to severe hardships. While the people confined indoors are starving, the scene at the Srinagar-based hospitals which are bearing the brunt of the crises is worse.

From towns like Baramulla in north Kashmir and Shopian in south to the summer capital of Srinagar in the center of the Valley in the Himalayas, strict curfew has been imposed everywhere, including the remote villages of areas like Beerwah where on August 16, four civilians were shot dead.

At places people are even not allowed to venture out of their homes to offer congregational Fajr and Isha prayers in the Masjids.

The police and other security forces didn’t allow even the milkmen, vegetable vendors and local bakery shops to sell essentials as they would otherwise do early in the morning during the ongoing unrest which erupted on July 8 in the wake of killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and his two associates.

This morning thousands of the families woke up to start the day almost empty stomach as there was no milk to prepare the morning tea not bread was available from the local baker, the Kandur, for the breakfast.

And as the days unfolded, the problem only worsened for the besieged as even the fuel supplies to the Valley were blocked by the government.

A family living in Nawa Kadal locality here complained that they had no milk for their toddler son, Syed Muhaib. “I requested the police personnel on duty to allow me get milk from nearby locality as my child was hungry but they didn’t allow,” the family complained.

The residents of Batamaloo, where a youth was killed by security forces on August 16 said police and paramilitary CRPF have unleashed a reign of terror in the locality since. “Late in the evening some of the grocery shops tried to open their shops so that the locals could buy essentials but the police swung to action and ransacked the shops,” the locals said adding scores of women were wounded in the police action.

The Batamaloo locals accused the Peoples Democratic Party led government of having unleashed a reign of terror in the area. “Instead of taking action against the killer DSP Yasir Qadri, who last month murdered a Tengpora youth the government has empowered him with more of powers to oppress the victimized people of Batamallo,” said members of the concerned Mohalla Intizaamiya Committee.

The Batamaloo locals said they were starving for want of essentials. Similar reports poured in from congested Shaher e-Khaas, which houses almost half the population of the summer capital.

Javaid Zargar a prominent trade union leader and resident of Nowhatta locality said the area was facing worst curfew. “We have no access to even essentials particularly medicines. We are being choked to death by the government,” he said.

At SMHS Hospital, the humanitarian groups offering succor to the wounded and their attendants had  a tough time as they couldn’t get access to food stocks for the community kitchen. “Some of the attendants couldn’t be served any food, they are silently starving,” admitted a member of humanitarian group working at SKIMS Soura.

The residents of nearby Khanyar said there was a dire shortage of food grains in the locality. “We are poor people, we don’t have huge stock at essentials. What we buy in the morning, we cook in the day, but this time we have no food grains in store,” they said.

Begum Arif of Konkhan Dalgate said she could not get baby food for a newborn in their family. “This is height of atrocities,” she cried.

In Pir Bagh area on the Airport Road in south City, the scene looks worse. Last evening around a dozen people were badly wounded in police action when they were coming out of their homes to buy grocery, the locals said.

“This is barbarism that those who want to buy food are beaten to pulp by police,” said a delegation of locals from the nearby Nadir Gund locality adding many of the wounded have been hospitalized.

With security forces being unwilling to acknowledge curfew passes, even the movement of journalists has become difficult. “Police has been saying that the curfew passes issued by the DC won’t do and that we should get special curfew passes from the Union Home ministry,” said a media person, who was not allowed to proceed towards the City centre of Lal Chowk.

In the wake of recent militant attack in Baramulla area on August 17 night the government extended the curfew in the Valley.

Kashmir has been facing “worst ever humanitarian crises” as at least 68 people have been killed and around 1000 wounded in action by government forces against protesters.

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