Fatigue sets in as curfew, shut downs continue in Kashmir

No violence was reported during the restrictions that were relaxed for a while Wednesday, police said but added that the curfew would continue across the valley, including in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Tangmarg, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora.
As another day of closed schools and colleges, businesses and shops loomed ahead, some residents said they have been trapped between the authorities and the separatists.

Officials countered by saying that curfew and restrictions were extreme measures that had to be taken to protect civilian lives and public property.“It has finally become a Tom and Jerry game between the authorities and the separatists," said Naseer Ahmad, bureau chief of a New Delhi-based television news channel here.

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, he said, Wednesday amended his protest calendar and said there would be no strike or protest on Thursday and Friday but there would be a shutdown on Saturday and Sunday.

In the days since June 11, when the present phase of unrest started killing more than 100 people, authorities would impose curfew or restrictions on days that the protests would be called.

“However, for the last three days, the authorities appear to have worked out a counter strategy. Curfew and restrictions are imposed on days marked as 'normal' in Geelani's protest calendar to send out a message that the separatists cannot run the valley on their terms," Ahmad said.

“As the race to run the valley on its terms has been started by the administration that for nearly three months was believed to simply respond to the separatist programmes, the common Kashmiri is sandwiched between the two extremes," Ahmad said.
“Like Shakespeare's Hamlet, it is the question of to be or not to be for all of us.”
Senior intelligence officers, however, interpret the situation differently.

“No administration worth its salt would put the people to inconvenience which would obviously generate anger against the authorities. Curfew or restrictions are extreme measures resorted to only in order to protect civilian lives and public property," said an official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

He said separatists had mostly succeeded in inciting youth to frenzied violence during days there were no curfews or restrictions. “Agreed, we cannot and must not continue with such restrictions for long, but also remember that these are only imposed after careful assessment of the ground situation and the intelligence inputs received by us."
“Please don't think we are trying to play any cat and mouse games with the separatists for oneupmanship. To think like that would be childish,” he added.

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