An Army convoy was moved to Srinagar on Wednesday, six years after a 2003 ceasefire with Pakistan led to the withdrawal of the force in 2004 from the Valley. According to the Centre, the Army has only been kept in a state of readiness and law enforcement is still being carried out by the state police and the CRPF. The force will be in Kashmir just “as long as it is necessary”, said Chidambaram in New Delhi, after the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
According to the home minister, Kashmir witnessed “two very minor incidents” of violence on Wednesday. He urged people to observe curfew restrictions and to keep children indoors. For the second day on Thursday, the Army staged flag marches in Old Srinagar city and Civil Lines area besides other towns of the Valley.
Union Home Secretary G K Pillai concluded his two-day visit to the Valley with a strong message to the state government to be tough with those fuelling protests. He has submitted a report about the situation to the home ministry and has said more paramilitary forces were being rushed to Kashmir.
After days of clashes, Kashmir remained calm on Thursday with curfew extended to the whole of the Valley, including small towns like Chadoora which were spared of curfew on Wednesday. Protest demonstrations were held only at two places, including Ganderbal, where police had to used force to disperse the agitators.
Political leaders criticised the government for letting matters get worse. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and save Kashmir from further deterioration. The hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani called upon the people to participate in a march towards Hazratbal shrine on Friday night.