Kashmir: Illusion Of Normalcy Amid Shutdown on Day 90

Srinagar: Notwithstanding a decent rush of vehicles on the city roads onThursday with people emerging from their homes in large numbers, the overall situation across Kashmir remained the same. Many vendors had set up stalls as people were seen buying merchandize from them especially in the upper town areas of Jawahar Nagar, Rambagh, Wazir Bagh, Sanat Nagar etc.

There has been an increased movement of private and public transport, except buses, in uptown Srinagar, including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, after the authorities lifted curfew from all parts of the city last week, officials said.

Even as the current agitation is showing signs of fatigue, there are no signs of end to the separatist-sponsored strike which has been extended till October 13. The separatists have called for a march to the local UN office here today.

The separatists had called for a march in the three districts - Anantnag, Baramulla and Srinagar - of the Valley yesterday.

The authorities have not put restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir on Thursday, but security forces have been deployed to maintain law and order.

There are no restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in the Valley, the officials said, adding the situation is improving with each passing day.

For the past few days, many street vendors and hand cart vendors have set up their stalls along the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis in the summer capital here.

The officials said some shopkeepers also keep open their shops in the civil lines areas of Srinagar and at few areas in the outskirts of the city.

Meanwhile, in some parts of the Valley, including in downtown city and district headquarters and towns, life remained affected for the 90th straight day due to the shutdown call of the separatists.

Most of the shops and business establishments in these areas were shut.

The government educational institutions at most places were open and teachers were attending their duties, the officials said.

The attendance in other government offices and banks has also considerably improved, they said.

According to reports, clashes erupted in Bandipora earlier yesterday after youths hurled stones at an army convoy.

Miscreants Set Ablaze Maruti Van

Unidentified persons set ablaze a Maruti van during the dead of Wednesday night in Veer Chatabal area of Srinagar city, police said.

They said that Maruti Van (JK01H-7081) parked outside the vehicle owner’s house was set on fire by unknown persons. The vehicle owner Mehrajuddin Kawa said that the vehicle was set on fire at 2 AM.

 “It was the only source of income for my family. I fail to understand why it was set ablaze,” he said.

A police official said that a case has been registered and investigation has been taken up.

Protests, Clashes Erupt During Crackdown

The crackdown and subsequent search operation sparked violent protest in Sambora hamlet of saffron town Pampore in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday.

According to the police sources, the village was cordoned off and door-to-door search operation was launched after they received inputs about the presence of all but 4 militants in the area. Government forces had inputs that four militants including the one responsible for the recent killing of a BJP Sarpanch had been present in the village.

Sources added that search operation was launched at around 9 in the morning and it ended on violent note at 3 pm when large number of people resorted to massive stone-pelting, while the forces fired tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

The search operation was conducted by Army personnel from 50 Rashtriya Rifles. Reports said that shortly after the search operation was started to flush out the militants, large number of people hit to roads and started pro-freedom protest. Reports said that during the search operation no arrests were made, however, as the forces tried to leave the village, a large number of protesters attacked them with stones, prompting government forces to resort to tear-smoke shells. The clashes between forces and protesters continued for hours.

Over 90 civilians have been killed in the uprising, which began a day after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with government forces in south Kashmir on July 8

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