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Kashmir calmer as PM Narendra Modi, Mehbooba Mufti appeal for peace

Violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley after security forces killed Burhan Wani, the 22-year-old commander of Hizbul Mujahideen

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CM Mehbooba Mufti of J&K and PM Narendra Modi of India in a meeting. www.thequint.com
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  • Violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley after security forces killed Burhan Wani
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed for peace in Kashmir to end days of violence
  • a mob attacked a police station in Kralpora village in Kupwara district in north Kashmir and set a police van on fire, trapping some policemen

Barring stray protests in rural areas where security forces shot dead a civilian, large parts of curfew-bound Kashmir Valley were calm on Tuesday, July 12, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed for peace to end days of violence.

While curfew continued for a fourth day in most parts of the valley, the authorities said the situation was under control despite some incidents of arson and mob attacks.

After returning from Africa, Modi chaired a high-level meeting and voiced concern over the incidents of violence in the Kashmir Valley that have left over 30 people dead and hundreds injured in widespread violence since security forces shot dead a top militant on Friday, July 8.

In Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti described the situation in Kashmir as “a matter of concern for all of us” and urged Kashmiri youths to show “patience and calm” at this “critical and sensitive” hour.

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“Bloodshed will result in nothing. Life comes once. It is our duty to respect and appreciate this Godsend gift,” Mebooba said in a passionate appeal in Urdu.

Violence erupted in the Kashmir Valley after security forces killed Burhan Wani, the 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, and two associates in a village on Friday.

Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com
Burhan, Hizbul Mujahidin. Image source:indianexpress.com

The killing of Wani, who had emerged as the new face of Kashmir’s militancy with his Facebook and other social media photos and videos, triggered a vicious cycle of protests by angry mobs and counter violence by security forces.

The protests continued on Tuesday, Jul 12, but their intensity was less compared to the last four days.

A police spokesman in Srinagar said a mob attacked a police station in Kralpora village in Kupwara district in north Kashmir and set a police van on fire, trapping some policemen.

Police fired back, injuring a person who succumbed to his injuries. The latest killing took to 34 the number killed across the valley.

Earlier on Tuesday, Amir Nazir Latoo, who was injured in firing at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s hometown in Bijbehara, succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Srinagar, doctors said.

Police said protesters pelted stones in some areas of south and north Kashmir during which one was injured after he picked up a tear smoke shell that exploded in his hand.

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At least three police guard rooms were set ablaze in different villages of south Kashmir, which has been most volatile over past four days. The dead militant commander belonged to this region.

Srinagar remained calm throughout the day even as police reported that some “miscreants lobbed a petrol bomb” targeting paramilitary and police forces in the old city.

Official sources told IANS here that the curfew will continue on Wednesday – July 13 – the annual official “Martyrdom Day” to remember those who were killed in an uprising against the Dogra autocratic rule in 1931.

Separatist leaders, most of them under house arrest, have called for a march to the martyrs’ graveyard in the old city. The Chief Minister too is scheduled to lay a wreath there. (IANS)

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  • Aparna Gupta

    Kashmir’s situation is really critical. The need is to calm the situation which can only be done with the help of Kashmiri youth.

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Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Gets Reinstated

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget

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Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe looks on during a parliament session in Colombo, Dec. 12, 2018. On Sunday he was reinstated as prime minister, ending a political crisis.

Sri Lanka’s sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was reinstated Sunday, his party said, ending a 51-day crisis that had paralyzed the island nation and pushed it toward debt default.

The 69-year-old leader was sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena, who sacked him Oct. 26 and triggered a power struggle that brought the country’s government to a standstill.

Wickremesinghe had refused to step aside since being sacked and replaced by former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Power struggle won

Sri Lanka had drifted without a functioning government for nearly two months as the rival factions jostled for power in parliament and the courts.

Sri Lanka, Parliament, Prime minister
Supporters of ousted Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe celebrate outside the supreme court complex in Colombo. VOA

Sirisena had vowed to never reappoint Wickremesinghe, who he publicly castigated in speeches in recent weeks, as prime minister under his watch.

The acrimony between the two was underscored Sunday when Sirisena barred journalists from attending the swearing-in ceremony, leaving it to Wickremesinghe’s legislators to announce the appointment.

“We thank the citizens of the country who fought the illegal seizure of power and ensured that democracy was restored,” his United National Party of Sri Lanka posted on Twitter

President’s appointee failed

Rajapaksa, Sirisena’s appointee, was unable to govern, failing many times to muster a majority in parliament.

Sri Lanka, prime minister
Sri Lanka’s disputed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa gestures as he arrives for a meeting with his supporting lawmakers at the parliamentary complex in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Nov. 29, 2018. VOA

He was defeated six times on the floor of the legislature before being forced to step down Saturday.

Sirisena suffered a huge setback when the highest court in the country ruled last week that he acted outside the constitution when he sacked parliament in early November.

The court also confirmed Friday that Rajapaksa and his purported Cabinet could not exercise the powers of the office they held.

Also Read: President’s Dissolution of Parliament Unconstitutional: Sri Lanka’s Court

A spokesman for Wickremesinghe said he was expected to form a Cabinet in the coming days, with priority given to the 2019 budget, without which foreign debt servicing may not be possible.

Sri Lanka had been braced for a government shutdown as parliament failed to approve spending for 2019, and ratings agencies downgraded the country’s credit rating amid fears of a sovereign debt default. (VOA)