Curfew clamped in India-controlled Kashmir following 4 civilian killings

22:12, September 07, 2010      

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Local authorities Tuesday clamped curfew in most towns of Indian- controlled Kashmir, including Srinagar city, after four people were killed in police firing on Monday during protests, officials said.

Thousands of policemen and India's paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in full-riot gear have been deployed along the streets and roads of towns to enforce restrictions. These men have laid barricades and concertina on roads and intersections to restrict civilian movement.

Locals said the announcement of curfew was made early morning by the police vehicles fitted with public address systems.

On Monday four people, including a teenager, were killed and 14 others were injured when police fired on protesters in village Palhalan-Patan of Baramulla district, around 32-km northwest of Srinagar city.

Police spokesman said protesters pelted stones on police vehicles passing through the area. However, locals deny the charge and said they were protesting peacefully.

The latest deaths took toll of civilians to 69 in police and paramilitary action on anti-India protesters over the past three months.

The killings triggered massive protests and condemnation with people pouring on roads to stage protests and shouting "Go India Go back! End genocide of Kashmiris!" and "We want freedom."

Anti-India sentiment runs deep in the psyche of majority of Kashmiris.

Night-long protests and clashes brook out in Srinagar and southern Anantnag and similar reports were received from other towns as well.

Government forces had a tough time controlling these protests.

"Curfew was clamped to maintain law and order and to control the crowds from going berserk," said a government official.

Police spokesman said an inquiry has been ordered to fix the responsibility in the killing of four civilians.

"Senior police officers have taken a serious view of the firing and an inquiry has been initiated. Ammunition of the policemen is being checked to fix the responsibility. Those found involved shall be proceeded against strictly according to law without any favor," the police statement read.

The deaths have pushed the region back on the edge and are mounting pressure on region's Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The killing is likely to fuel fresh sequel of clashes in the Muslim dominated areas of the region.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani who heads the hardline Hurriyat Conference and is spearheading the "Quit Kashmir movement recently set five conditions to pave way for restoration of peace in the region.

"India should accept Kashmir as an international dispute. We want complete demilitarization of the Valley, revocation of AFSPA, release of political prisoners. Prime Minister of India should publicly commit and ensure practically that no killings and arrests do take place henceforth and troopers and policemen involved in the killing of people should be tried for war crimes in Kashmir," Geelani stated.

So far the Indian government is yet to respond to Geelani's statement but the unrest of past three months has become a major concern for local government as well as New Delhi.

Authorities are struggling hard to contain the relentless public protests triggered by the killing of a 17-year-old boy by police on June 11.

Source: Xinhua


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