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Second day of curfew in Kashmir Valley

Srinagar, July 20, 2013, (IANS):
A paramilitary soldier stands guard in a deserted market during curfew in Srinagar, India, Friday, July 19, 2013. Government forces in the Indian portion of Kashmir on Thursday fatally shot four villagers and wounded 25 others who were protesting the alleged desecration of the Muslim holy book by border guards, police said. AP photo

Uninterrupted curfew continued for the second day Saturday in Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar and other major towns of the Valley amid heightened tensions over alleged killings by security forces in Gool village.

State Director General of Police Ashok Prasad said restrictions imposed Friday morning would continue till Sunday evening.

Over 30 people were injured in clashes between security forces and stone pelting mobs in Srinagar city and other places in the Valley Friday where people defied curfew, blocked roads, pelted stones on passing vehicles and engaged security forces in sustained clashes.

Heavy deployment of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been made in Srinagar, Ganderbal, Badgam, Bandipora, Shopian, Kulgam, Anantnag, Baramulla and Kupwara districts Saturday to prevent violence.

All major road intersections in Srinagar have been blocked with coils of razor wire, cross parking of security force vehicles and makeshift barricades.

Srinagar district magistrate has said identity cards of those manning essential services and media would be treated as curfew passes by the security forces.

An emergency control room has been set up to facilitate passage of patients to hospitals during emergencies. The strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway remained closed for the third consecutive day Saturday.

Trouble erupted in Gool village in Ramban district Thursday when villagers, alleging desecration of a mosque and beating up of the local imam by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, stormed a BSF camp.

BSF Inspector General (Frontier Jammu) Rajeev Krishna told reporters the BSF guards at the camp had opened fire to prevent looting of arms and ammunition.

Locals have dismissed the BSF explanation as 'fabrication' saying that the troopers had opened fire at peaceful protesters.

Four villagers were killed in the firing while 43 were wounded.

The state government has shifted the BSF camp from Dharam (Gool) village and the camp has been taken over by personnel of Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police.

An ex-gratia of Rs.5 lakhs and a government job to the next of kin of each of the deceased was announced by the state cabinet. The cabinet expressed shock and condemned "the use of excessive force by security forces in Gool incident".

No Amarnath-bound pilgrim was allowed to leave winter capital Jammu for the second day Saturday as tensions along the over 300 km Jammu-Srinagar highway continued in Batote, Chanderkote, Ramban and Bannihal towns.

All examinations scheduled for Saturday have been cancelled by Kashmir University, Central University and the state board of school education.

Separatists have called for a three-day protest shutdown against the killings. All senior separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, have been placed under house arrest in Srinagar.


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