Srinagar normal, Baramulla on edge

After five days of strike, curfew and protests, life limped back to normalcy in most parts of Kashmir on Saturday.

However, north Kashmir’s Baramulla, Sopore and Bandipora towns observed a complete shutdown and situation remained tense with several protesters and policemen getting injured in fresh clashes.

Police said the injured included a station house officer, a two-year-old child and a pregnant woman.

A police spokesperson said protesters pelted stones at shopkeepers in Sopore as they tried to open their outlets and also damaged about two dozen private vehicles.

However, he said shops in some parts of the town opened later and roads were also cleared of the protesters.

Life returned to normal in Srinagar, with shops and business establishments reopening and traffic reappearing on roads. In volatile old city areas, police and CRPF personnel were deployed in strength to thwart any demonstration. Despite the heavy deployment, stray incidents of stone pelting were reported from Kawdara and other places.

Curfew and restrictions were imposed in most parts of the Valley on Wednesday as a precautionary measure to foil plans of separatists to hold protests in the wake of the mysterious death of a Kashmiri student in Hyderabad and killing of a youth in a subsequent protest in Baramulla.

Majlis Mashawarat (consultative committee), an amalgamation of separatist groups, which is spearheading an agitation seeking return of mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and pro-independence JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat to their families, has been issuing protest calendars every week for the past three weeks.

Afzal and Bhat were hanged and buried inside Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013 and February 11, 1984. The Majlis protest calendar did not declare any strike on Saturday and Sunday and people could carry out normal activities.

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