Restrictions, Shutdown Paralyses Life in Indian-Controlled Kashmir for 14th Day


Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, 1 Syawwal 1437/23 July 2016 (MINA) – Life across Muslim majority areas of restive Indian-controlled Kashmir including the capital city Srinagar Friday remained paralysed for the 14th straight day due to indefinite curfew by authorities and shutdown called by separatists, officials said.

Authorities fearing clashes have deployed hundreds of India’s paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and policemen in full-riot gears across towns to impose strict restrictions and disallow protest demonstrations.

These men have blocked roads by placing barricades and coils of concertina wire to impede free movement of people and vehicles.

The region is reeling under curfew and shutdown following the killing of a top militant commander of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Burhan Muzaffar Wani, along with two associates on July 8. The 22-year-old Wani was poster boy of HM, region’s indigenous militant outfit.

Wani’s killing triggered violent protests and clashes after which authorities imposed curfew. Police firing on civilian protesters defying restrictions has resulted in killing of over 40 men, besides injuring 2000 others.

Local media reports said a youth hailing from southern Anantnag district succumbed at SKIMS hospital, a premier health institute in Srinagar Thursday night. He had received bullet in his chest last week and was undergoing treatment since then.

Lack of eatables and medicines

“Curfew will remain in place across the region today,” a senior government official said.

Markets, business establishments, educational institutions, banks, government offices remain closed and traffic is off the roads in wake of the curfew and shutdown call.

Residents from the curfew bound areas say they were facing a dearth of eatables and medicines.

“We are facing difficulty in getting vegetables, bread and milk due to shutdown and curfew,” Showkat Ahmad, a Srinagar resident told Xinhua. “Even people are facing a shortage of medicines.”

The cellphone and internet services continue to remain suspended in the region in bid to prevent people from mobilizing. The local government has placed key separatist leaders under house arrest fearing their participation in demonstrations would intensify anti-India protests and mobilize people in large numbers.

The local newspaper published from Srinagar have resumed their publication on Thursday after five days on assurances of the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

“Though there has been no deliberate attempt on part of the government to impose any restrictions on the publication of newspapers, however, what has happened, because of some communication gap, is regrettable,” Mufti told newspaper editors.

Last weekend local government imposed a gag on media by seizing newspaper copies and asking owners of printing presses to suspend operations.

Mufti chaired an all-party meeting of pro-India parties on Thursday to reach out a consensus to deal with the ongoing crisis. However, the main opposition National Conference boycotted the meeting.

Prior to this, in 2010, a similar wave of violence hit the region and claimed over 100 lives during clashes that continued for months together.

A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.

Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir. (T/R07/R01)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)