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Kashmir Unrest: People defy curfew as protests erupt in the valley

Similar protests and clashes occurred near the city centre Lal Chowk - the main business hub of Srinagar.

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Kashmir Protest. Wikimedia Commons.

On Friday across the Kashmir Valley some protest and some violent have defied a curfew re-imposed to prevent a separalist called protest march to Jamia Masjid- to the main Mosque.

Witnesses and police said demonstrations and clashes occurred at many places in Srinagar and other villages and towns of north and south of the valley amid an outrage over the July 8 killing of a top rebel commander.

In Srinagar, hundreds of people, swinging green flags, defied restrictions and marched from a nearby mosque to a United Nations office. They held a noisy demonstration outside the UN office.

Curfew in kashmir. Image Source: www.scoopwhoop.com
Curfew in kashmir. Image Source: www.scoopwhoop.com

Chanting “We want freedom”, the protesters demanded UN intervention to resolve the Kashmir dispute and an end to what they said were human rights abuses by security forces in the valley.

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Police dispersed the stone-throwing crowd of men and some women with batons and tear gas. A police spokesperson said no reports of injuries were received.

Similar protests and clashes occurred near the city centre Lal Chowk – the main business hub of Srinagar.

Protest marches were also held in at least a dozen places, including Bandipore and Sopore towns of north Kashmir that had been relatively calm in the days of unrest when some 50 people were killed in firing by police and paramilitary troopers.

South Kashmir, the worst-hit in the ongoing unrest, saw nocturnal protests raging almost through the night, with people carrying flaming torches and marching in main towns.

(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com
(Representational Pic) Kashmiri villagers. Image source:news.xinhuanet.com

The region erupted afresh on Friday with more protests at many places, police said.

In Shopian, also in the south, after Friday prayers people held a rally. Security forces chased the stone throwers using tear gas and pellet guns. Locals said dozens of protesters were injured. This could not be verified officially.

Authorities on Friday imposed curfew and restrictions in the valley to prevent separatist called protests in Srinagar.

Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for the protest march to the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

Police took Geelani and Mirwaiz Farooq, who have been under house arrest, into brief preventive custody after they defied the restrictions and came out of their houses to march to the mosque.

Malik has been lodged in a Srinagar lockup since the fresh summer unrest began a day after Wani was killed.

Life across the valley remained paralysed for the 21st day in a row. It is expected to remain so until the end of this month as the separatists extended their protest shutdown till July 31.

Separatists have, however, said people should engage in activities like shopping for a few hours after 7 p.m. during this period.

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As separatist shops, businesses and schools will remain closed have also urged people to come out on the streets on Weekends and offer early morning prayers and midday prayers on roads in in defiance of government imposed restrictions on the assembly of four or more people in groups.

–IANS

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BJP Hopeful of Getting its “First Chief Minister” in Jammu and Kashmir

Meanwhile, the BJP which shared power in the state with the PDP for three years from 2015 to 2018, did not get the top post

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BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir has seen several Chief Ministers from Congress, National Conference and the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Flickr

The BJP is hopeful of getting its “first Chief Minister” in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 from the state two months ago, and the planned delimitation of the Assembly constituencies.

In an interview to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ravinder Raina said, “Jammu and Kashmir is a unit. And as President of BJP here, I am confident that we will have a BJP Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir very soon.”

Jammu and Kashmir has seen several Chief Ministers from Congress, National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Meanwhile, the BJP which shared power in the state with the PDP for three years from 2015 to 2018, did not get the top post and had to accept the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
In an interview to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Ravinder Raina said, Jammu and Kashmir is a unit. Flickr

When asked about the planned delimitation of constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir, Raina said, “The Election Commission will take a final call on the delimitation of the Assembly constituencies here.”

Raina said the poll panel will constitute a commission, which will be headed by either a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge.

The BJP leader pointed out that the commission which will be constituted for the delimitation process will follow all the standard prodecures.

The government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution from Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 and also bifurcated the state into two union territories.

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Following the revocation of Article 370, the government has enforced a massive clampdown on communication and internet services in the state and deployed heavy security presence.

To a question over the clampdown for 60 days in the state, the state BJP chief said, “Soon after the abrogation of Article 370 the mobile connectivity and internet facility was suspended here.

“And now you are witnessing that the mobile connectivity and Wi-fi services are given a free hand and people are using those facilities here,” Raina said pointing towards the Wi-fi hotspots and connections provided to the citizens in Jammu.

Pointing towards the Kashmir valley, where only landlines connections and BSNL mobile networks are operating, he said, “In Kashmir valley too, the communication systems whether it is landline connections or BSNL mobile numbers are being operated and are given access.”

BJP, Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir
And as President of BJP here, I am confident that we will have a BJP Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir very soon. Pixabay

“But there are still apprehensions that Pakistani agents may use the internet facilities to defame and to create mess and try to instigate the youth of the country,” he said on the internet suspension in Srinagar and other districts in the Kashmir valley.

Raina further said that Pakistani elements can instigate the youth and spread venom in the society and that is why preventive measures have been taken. “But soon you shall find all internet facilities will be opened and will be given free access,” he said.

India has on several occasions accused Pakistan of sponsoring terror and allowing its land to be used for terror activities. In recent days, the Indian Army and security forces have foiled terrorists’ attempts to enter Indian territory from the Pakistan side.

On India’s semi-high speed and feature-rich Vande Bharat Express arriving in Jammu from Delhi, he said, “We are thankful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for providing the best train that is Vande Bharat Express to Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370.

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He said “Vande Bharat Express will provide all sorts of relief to passengers that we have seen at the overcrowded railway stations of Jammu Tawi, Katra and Udhampur. It is a big gift for the people of Kashmir,” Raina added. (IANS)