Fourth day of curfew in tension torn Kashmir

Last Updated 12 February 2013, 05:23 IST

Uninterrupted curfew restrictions continued for the fourth day Tuesday in Kashmir Valley to prevent violence in the wake of Afzal Guru's hanging in New Delhi's Tihar jail.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he would help arrange a visit to the parliament attack convict's family to offer prayers at his grave.

While speaking to a radio channel Monday evening, Omar said that if Afzal Guru's family approached him, he would do everything possible to help.

Three people have died so far during protests in the Kashmir Valley after news of December 2001 Indian parliament attack plotter's hanging spread here.

Residents in Batwina village of north Kashmir's Ganderbal district said two youths were drowned after they were chased by the security forces during protests, while police said the deaths had occurred because of a boat capsize in the Jhelum river.

A teenaged boy belonging to Watergam (Rafiabad) area of Baramulla district succumbed to critical injuries in a city hospital Monday morning.

He had reportedly sustained a bullet injury from the security forces during protests in the village.

Another injured youth is battling for life in Srinagar's super specialty Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura.

The state government has ordered a magisterial probe into both these incidents and an ex-gratia relief to the next of kin of the deceased person.

Strict orders  has been given to exercise maximum restraint while handling the law and order situation in the  valley, the chief minster said.

Reports here indicate 14 companies of border security force (BSF) and 10 additional companies of central reserve police force (CRPF) have been rushed to assist the state  administration in maintaining law and order.

For the third day Tuesday Kashmir went without any print editions of the local newspapers.

Local editors told IANS they had been unofficially told by the authorities to suspend  publications of their newspapers till Friday.

"If this has been done to check the spread of wild rumours then it is a very bad decision," said Bashir Manzar, editor of daily 'Kashmir Images'.

Cable television operations and Internet facilities also remained shut in the summer capital Srinagar, although BSNL broadband users said their facility was still working.
Those using dongle appliances and mobile phones to access the Internet have been unable to do so for the last four days.

A senior police officer said curfew imposed Saturday would remain in place till further orders.

Asked whether the authorities were planning some relaxation in the imposed curfew, the officer said the situation was being monitored on a regular basis.

Authorities have made announcements through the local radio and television broadcasts that additional round-the-clock ambulances have been made available to ferry sick  people to hospitals from areas under curfew.

Security forces have been advised to treat the identity cards of those maintaining essential services like healthcare, water supplies and electricity as curfew passes and  allow their movements through those areas.

Separatist  Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani has asked people to continue the  protest shutdown till Friday when a march to the Eidgah grounds has been announced.

"We will demand that the mortal remains of Afzal Guru be returned to his family," a spokesman of the group told media here.

All examinations and interviews scheduled to be held here up to Feb 17 have been  postponed by the authorities.

(Published 12 February 2013, 04:50 IST)

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