Curfew relaxation continues in Kashmir Valley, 20 held

Last Updated 10 July 2010, 05:53 IST

The four-day-old curfew was relaxed in the entire valley last night after a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to enable people offer special prayers overnight at the Hazratbal shrine for Shab-e-Mehraj, an important occasion on the religious calendar here.

Some protestors came out in the streets in Qamarwari, Naaz cinema, Nowhatta and Maisuma of the city this morning in but were chased away by the police. Restrictions were imposed in Maisuma after the protests.

People continued to throng the Hazratbal Shrine today to have a glimpse of a Holy Relic of Prophet Mohammed which is shown to people after every prayer after Shab-e-Mehraj (night of ascent). Nearly 4,000 people had gathered during the first prayer at the break of the dawn.

Shops and business establishments were open and traffic was plying normally in the city.
However, in Pulwama district of South Kashmir, curfew had to be imposed after a media report that one person had died in police firing, which was denied by authorities.
People started coming out on the streets despite administration announcing that the news was not correct. Before things could go out of hands, the authorities decided to impose curfew.

Kakapora area of Pulwama district had witnessed pitched battle between mobs and security personnel last evening which resulted in injuries to 16 security personnel and five civilians.Curfew continued to be in force in Sopore.

Jammu and Kashmir Police, meanwhile, continued to crack down on stone pelters during the night and today as well and arrested 20 people.

Local newspaper failed to hit the stands for the third day today despite authorities lifting restrictions on the movement of media persons in the wake of curfew in Srinagar and certain other parts of the valley and issued fresh curfew passes to them.

However, various media associations decided not to print any newspapers as they claimed that enough passes were not issued.

The last time the newspapers did not come out was in 2008 at the height of the Amarnath land agitation. Publication of dailies at that time was suspended for four days. Newspaper publication had also remained suspended for 40 days during elections in 1996.

Omar has convened an all-party meeting in Srinagar on Monday to discuss the present situation. PDP, the main opposition party, has decided to boycott it saying it was a "purposeless exercise".

"There is total distrust between the people and this government. So I don't think any purpose will be served by attending the meeting," PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti had said yesterday.

The invitation was extended to all 12 recognised political parties and groups by Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammed Sagar.Curfew was clamped in Srinagar on Tuesday and army moved in to assist the civil administration in maintaining law and order.

(Published 10 July 2010, 04:03 IST)

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