Curfew clamped in more areas of Kashmir Valley

Curfew clamped in more areas of Kashmir Valley

An Indian Army jeep patrols a deserted street during curfew in Srinagar on Wednesday. AP Photo
Sopore town and old parts of Baramulla were placed under curfew as a precautionary measure, official sources said.

Curfew was also being enforced strictly in Srinagar, where three persons were killed in alleged firing by security forces on Tuesday.

The sources said that there was no curfew in Baramulla town, Handwara, Shopian, Ganderbal and Budgam.

A group of protestors had attempted to gather in Batmaloo area of Srinagar during the night but were peacefully dispersed by the security forces, they said.

Protestors had also tried to attack a bus carrying new police recruits in the outskirts of Srinagar but the attempt was thwarted.

The Army had yesterday moved 17 columns (about 1,700 personnel) into various parts of the city to assist the civil administration in maintaining law and order.

Srinagar, which was bustling with tourists before the trouble started, looked like a lifeless city with empty streets, closed shops and deserted shikaras amid the heavy presence of security forces.

The state government had sought help of the Army in the wake of spiralling protests in the city.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had yesterday spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over phone and briefed him on the law and order situation in the Valley.

Omar had apprised the Prime Minister about the steps being taken in restoring normalcy which included cracking down on mischief-makers and miscreants, sources said.

The Chief Minister had also spoken twice to Home Minister P Chidambaram and also to Defence Minister A K Antony about the developments.

Union Home Secretary G K Pillai, who had flown in here yesterday from Delhi along with Director General of Military Operations Lt Gen A M Verma, had met the Chief Minister and reviewed the overall law and order situation.

Pillai had assured the Chief Minister of complete support of the Centre in maintaining peace in the Valley. The Home Secretary had also chaired a meeting of officials of CRPF, Army and State Police and Intelligence Bureau.

The Kashmir situation was discussed at the CCS meeting chaired by the Prime Minister yesterday. It was decided that Army would be deployed only in the "periphery" and not in the congested areas of Kashmir.

The CCS had favoured "maximum crackdown" on miscreants who had contributed to the deterioration of the current situation in the valley.

It was also made clear that army has been deployed in Srinagar for "deterrent effect" and the decision to place it in specific areas would be done by the civil administration.

"The law and order situation is peaceful. Curfew is in force in Sopore, Anantnag, Srinagar and Pulwama districts of the valley," Inspector General, Kashmir region, Farooq Ahmad said.

He said that no major incident of violence was reported since this morning even as there were minor overnight protests in a couple of mosques in Batamaloo area of the city.

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