Curfew lifted, but strike hits Valley

Rail, road traffic affected; violent clashes erupt

Curfew lifted, but strike hits Valley

Curfew was finally lifted from Srinagar city and other major towns in Kashmir on Saturday but normal life was affected due to a strike called by the hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Authorities have also restored mobile internet and cable TV services. Curfew had been imposed on all the ten districts of the Valley following the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9.

The police said barring a few incidents of stone throwing in parts of the old city area and some places in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, the situation remained normal throughout the day.

While shops and business establishments remained closed due to the strike, public transport was also off the road. However, private vehicles were seen plying in the city and other major towns in the Valley. There were reports of protests staged by youths at Nawakadal, Bona Mohalla and Kawdara in the old city area. Clashes with the police and CRPF personnel were also reported.

Similar reports were received from Anantnag where violent clashes between the police and protestors erupted in old town, Malakhnag Cheeni Chowk, Reshi Bazar Janglat Mandi, Sherpora, Mattan Chowk, and Dangerpora.

Protesters also attacked the vehicle of district session judge at Lal Chowk in Anantnag after which the police resorted to baton charge and teargas shelling to disperse the mob. The police arrested several youths after the clashes.  

Meanwhile, despite lifting the curfew, rail connectivity between south-north Kashmir via Srinagar remained suspended. However, the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, connecting the Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, was open and air traffic was normal.

“We are holding a meeting with security agencies before resuming rail services,” a railway official said. “This time we do not want to take any chances. Until we get security clearance, the service will remain off track.”

Sources said, service was suspended due to security concerns as railway property worth crores was damaged during the 2010 summer violence.

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