Day 108:Hartal Continues In Edgy Kashmir

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Srinagar: Normal life continues to remain shut in Kashmir on the consecutive day 108 on the call of joint resistance leadership following killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen Commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.

It was for the 108th consecutive day that life in Valley remained crippled due to the shutdown called by the separatists. The separatists have extended the strike till October 27.

Shops and business establishments remained closed and work in government offices and banks was affected while educational institutions still wore a deserted look in the valley due to strike for the past 108 days.

Police said there is no curfew or restriction in any part of the valley though heavy deployment of security forces continued to maintain law and order.

Vendors, mostly selling fruits and vegetables, could be seen on busy roads in the city though shops and business establishments remained closed in main business hubs, including historic Lal Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Residency road and Moulana Azad road, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Mahraj Bazar, Gonikhan, Batmaloo and Maisuma.

Situation in Harwan in the city outskirts and Kapran in south Kashmir district of Shopian was entirely different with all roads closed with barbed wire to prevent assembly of people at these places.

Both the factions of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), spearheading the agitation since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Anantnag, have already extended strike till October 27.

Life remained crippled in this and other major towns and tehsil headquarters in north Kashmir, a report from Baramulla said.

Business and other activities remained crippled and traffic off the roads. However, cars and two-wheelers could be seen plying. Security forces remained deployed in strength on bridges connecting old town with civil lines.

Similar situation was witnessed in central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal where roads continued to wore a deserted look as business and other activities remained crippled. However, private cars and two wheelers besides some three-wheelers were plying on some routes.

A report from Anantnag said that business and other activities remained paralysed and traffic was off the roads for the 108th day Monday, in support of the separatists strike call.

The situation was no different in rest of the areas of south Kashmir, including Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama, where even though restrictions have been lifted, normal life remained paralysed as shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads.

However, all roads leading to Kapran in south Kashmir district of Shopian to foil any freedom march, called by separatists. Security forces remained deployed to prevent any march.

At least 95 people have been killed and more than 15,000 are injured in the ongoing unrest in the Kashmir Valley.

According to reports government arrested thousands of youth, including some top Hurriyat leaders, during the months and over 300 have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

 

Mysterious Fires Burn Property Worth Lakhs

Property worth lakhs of rupees has been damaged in a devastating fire in north Kashmir district of Baramulla early this morning, official sources said.

They said fire broke out in a shop at main Kunzar maret Tangmarg on Srinagar-Gulmarg road early this morning under mysterious circumstances.

Fire tenders were rushed to the area to control the leaping flames, clearly visible from a distance. Locals also joined the fire control operation, they said adding about seven shops were completely or partially damaged in the incident.

The cause of fire was not known, they said adding no one was injured.

 

Another School Set Ablaze

Yet another government school building was gutted in mysterious fire in Kashmir valley in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

According to the official sources, fire broke out in Government High School at Kawoosa Khalisa in central Kashmir district of Budgam on Monday.

Fire tenders from different parts of the district were rushed to douse off the leaping flames clearly visible from a distance. However, the school building suffered major damage before the fire was brought under control.

They said it was not immediately clear how the building caught fire when there is no activity in the school as students stayed away in response to separatist strike call since July 09, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Anantnag.

Over half a dozen schools were gutted in Kashmir valley since the eruption of protests that left 86 persons killed and about 10,000 others wounded in security force and police action. The injured included some students who have lost their both eyes or one after hit by pellets fired by security forces and police.

  Meanwhile, the Minister said that the damage to schools is not just burning of an institution but a colossal loss for the entire society. He said that during the last few months Kashmir has gone through a bad phase which has given pain to everybody.

"The biggest causality has been the loss of human lives which is irreparable. We cannot bring them back but we can save our future generation," Naeem said, adding "We will never forget the people who died. For the good of all we have to proceed constructively and dialogue is the only way forward."

 

3 Gun Snatchers Arrested: Police

Three youth, allegedly planning to snatch weapons from police and join Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, were Monday arrested in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, police said.

Mohammad Asif Khan, Adil Ahmad Najar and Saqib Nazir Bhat were taken into custody during a joint operation by police and Rashtriya Rifles in Awantipora area of south Kashmir Pulwama district, a police official said.

He said police acted after receiving specific information that a group of youth are being motivated by Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zakir Rashid Bhat alias "Mosa" to snatch weapons from police and to join the banned militant group.

"During question, the trio confessed that they had hatched a conspiracy to snatch weapons from pickets set up by police for the protection of minority communities or police so that afterwards they could join militant ranks," the official said.

He said a case under unlawful activities act has been registered against the arrested persons and investigations started.

Over the last three months, there have been a number of incidents in which weapons have been snatched from police personnel in Kashmir valley. At least 67 guns, including INSAS and Carbines, have been looted during this period.

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