Tuesday November 19, 2019
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Srinagar becomes a fortress ahead of Modi rally

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New Delhi: In a bid to thwart separatist outfits from disrupting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar, security forces nabbed over 400 Kashmiris and blacklisted over 50 social media pages on Saturday. The Sher-i-Kashmir stadium, where Modi will deliver his address has been turned into a fortress following the separatist group’s call to demonstrate against the rally.

While many top separatist leaders featured in the list of the detainees, several others have been put under house arrest.

Cases have also been filed against unknown people for allegedly spreading propaganda to fuel unrest.

In addition, political parties have been barred from holding rallies on Saturday.

“The situation is not very ideal. There has been a problem, you can’t deny that. There is a section of people who don’t like such gatherings and if government is taking precaution, it will be for the general good of the people,” said Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP.

However, the umbrella organization for all separatist groups, the All Party Hurriyat Conference is keen to make it clear that Kashmiris are against Indian occupancy in the state.

“Our rally will be a message for India to read the writing on the wall that Kashmiris are against Indian occupation,” said Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

However, the move to arrest leaders drew flak from several quarters who cited that such stringent measures were not taken when former PM Vajpayee visited Kashmir in 2003.

Kashmiris have, in addition, been protesting about the lack of federal government aid more than a year after the worst flooding in over a century devastated half a million homes.

While police set up countless check-posts around Srinagar, soldiers patrolled the streets to prevent any subversive activities.

On Thursday, attacks by militants on a paramilitary camp left 11 soldiers injured.

Modi is expected to declare an economic package to help the state recover from the floods and also reach out to youth.

(Picture Courtesy: www.gg2.net)

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More than 1 Million People Participate in Mass Rally against Chilean Government’s Austerity Policies

Some in the rally held up a giant banner reading "Chile woke up," a phrase that has become the unofficial motto of the movement

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Rally, Chilean, Government
The demonstration was set to start at 5 p.m. and within an hour, the crowd had swelled to more than a million, according to the municipal government. Pixabay

More than 1 million people participated in a mass rally here, deemed as the largest since the 1990 fall of dictator Augusto Pinochet, against the Chilean government’s austerity policies.

A week after the start of demonstrations that have witnessed the death of 19 people, the capital’s Plaza Italia square on Friday overflowed as thousands more stood on neighbouring streets, reports Efe news.

The demonstration was set to start at 5 p.m. and within an hour, the crowd had swelled to more than a million, according to the municipal government.

Some in the rally held up a giant banner reading “Chile woke up,” a phrase that has become the unofficial motto of the movement demanding the resignation of the country’s President Sebastian Pinera.

Rally, Chilean, Government
A week after the start of demonstrations that have witnessed the death of 19 people, the capital’s Plaza Italia square on Friday overflowed as thousands more stood on neighbouring streets, reports Efe news. Pixabay

The widespread unrest began on October 18 with a student protest in Santiago over a since-cancelled subway fare hike.

Protests escalated into violent incidents that have left 19 dead – some killed by police and soldiers deployed after the government declared a state of emergency, imposed curfews in several cities and put the military in charge of public order.

During the protests, Chileans also expressed their anger over low pensionsn, salaries and the high price of electricity, gas, university education and healthcare.

Chile’s Congress, located in the central port city of Valparaiso, was evacuated earlier on Friday after demonstrators caused disturbances in the vicinity of the building.

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The speaker of the lower house, Ivan Flores, ordered the suspension of the legislative session after a group of protesters gathered outside the building and unsuccessfully tried to force their way past members of the Carabineros, Chile’s militarized national police.

According to the latest figures from the National Human Rights Institute (INDH), an autonomous public agency that monitors the actions of security forces, the number of arrests stands at 2,840.

The week-long protests have left 582 people injured, 295 of them struck by rubber bullets or tear-gas canisters.

A UN mission will travel to Chile next week to investigate possible human rights violations during the protests. (IANS)