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Kashmir under curfew for day 10, toll reaches 45
Only handful of people fomenting trouble: DyCM
Srinagar, July 17: Curfew remained in force in Kashmir and normal life paralyzed for the 10th day on Sunday in the wake of clashes following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani that left 45 persons dead and over 3100 injured.
A youth was shot dead by army in Saderkote area of Bandipora on Sunday evening after youth were protesting the killing of Commander Burhan Wani. An unidentified lady was also injured in the firing. "Curfew shall continue in all the ten districts of the Valley," a senior police official said. "Security forces have been instructed to allow movement of patients along with their attendants."
"People going to the airport will not face any hardship as air tickets were being treated as curfew passes," official added. The death toll in the ongoing violence reached 44 after an unruly mob torched a police picket in north Kashmir's Kupwara district on Saturday. Police opened fire at the mob resulting in death of a youth. All vernacular and English dailies suspended publication for second day on Sunday.
State government officials said newspaper owners had been asked to suspend publications until July 19.
Cable television operations were allowed on Saturday evening after remaining suspended for a day. The resumption of cable television was allowed after operators agreed to stop broadcasting all Pakistani TV channels and two private Indian channels.
Mobile phone internet and call operations remained suspended in south Kashmir for the eighth day and stayed suspended for the second day in central and north Kashmir on Sunday. Mobile phone operations without internet facility are, however, continuing on postpaid numbers provided by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). Train services between north Kashmir Baramulla and Banihal town in the Jammu region also remained suspended. All recruitment interviews scheduled for the next four days have been cancelled by the state public service commission (PSC).
All schools, colleges and universities in the valley were also shut down. Senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Ahmad Shah have been either placed under house arrest or taken into preventive custody to restrain them from participating in protests. Separatists have appealed people to continue the shutdown until Monday.
The shutdown in the valley started on July 9 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in a gunfight with security forces on July 8. The separatists groups -- both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF -- have been issuing strike calls, a practice reminiscent of 2010 summer agitation. The separatists groups have extended the strike call till Monday evening. Meanwhile, holding that only a handful of people are fomenting trouble, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh today said the government was taking various measures to restore peace in the Valley.
"Only a handful of people are involved in fomenting trouble and there is a need to isolate and expose them," he said while interacting with the members of various social and religious organisations. Singh sought the cooperation of the people in checking rumour mongering.
"We need cooperation in maintaining peace and tranquility and facilitating effective implementation of the government's developmental initiatives", he said. Singh said the government is taking various measures to restore peace in the Valley. "There is a need to isolate the trouble-mongers so that the common people are assuaged of hardships", he said.
Singh said the government is making every effort to provide uninterrupted supplies to the Valley and far flung areas. Dispelling the apprehensions of transporters and business organisations, the deputy chief minister said the government would provide all possible security to the goods and supplies carriers as is being provided "to Amarnath yatris".
Singh appealed to the people to assist the administration in maintaining peace and normalcy in their respective areas.However, Pakistan declared Hizbul commander Burhan Wani as a "martyr" and July 19 as black day because it came under emotional pressure from the public, Riaz Hussain Khokhar, former foreign secretary of Pakistan said here on Saturday. "In the beginning, our reactions were low key. But the government came under pressure from people and media. If is difficult to try and cool it because of the emotive aspect of the issue," Khokhar said.
"We must not allow the situation to go out of hand. But it depends on how India handles the situation," he said, adding, "Pakistan does not want to play up the situation. But we have an obligation to bring it to the notice of the international community." Khokhar himself played the sentimental card, saying, "Every Kashmiri on our side considers him (Burhan) a martyr."
About two thousand additional CRPF personnel are being rushed to violence-hit Kashmir Valley.
Official said that a total of 20 fresh companies (100 personnel in each) are being rushed to the Valley which will be in addition to 2,800 Central Reserve Police Force personnel which were sent to assist the state police last week.
They said the additional reinforcements will be deployed to further enhance the security arrangements in the Valley, where the outbreak of violence following the dead of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani has left 39 persons dead and over 3,100 injured.
"Some of the fresh units will exclusively render the task of road opening parties in order to secure the movement of security forces convoys," a senior official said. About 60 battalions (about 1,000 in personnel each) are already stationed in the state as part of counter insurgency grid. Curfew remained in force in Kashmir and normal life paralyzed for the ninth day today.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said political parties have spoken in one voice over developments in Kashmir and asserted that it has sent right message and benefitted the country.
Modi made these remarks at an all-party meeting convened ahead of Monsoon Session of Parliament beginningtomorrow, official sources said.
"Various parties have given statements on Kashmir events which benefitted the country. This has sent a right message and I thank all the parties for the same," he said while complimenting them for speaking in "one voice", the sources said. "We represent both the people and the parties and there is a need to keep national interests above anything else," the Prime Minister said.
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