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Valley turns fortress amid planned protests

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
Last updated on: October 27, 2008 20:25 IST
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An undeclared curfew was clamped in the entire summer capital Srinagar to scuttle separatist protests in Srinagar on Monday.

Indefinite curfew continues to remain in force in the north Kashmir's  Baramulla town since Sunday, where a youth was killed and 20 others wounded in day long clashes and paramilitary, Central Reserve Police Force firing.

Angry youths, however, defied curfew restrictions in the town on Monday morning and engaged the police and CRPF troops in pitched battles till afternoon.

The security forces fired volleys of tear gas shells and resorted to repeated baton charges to disperse the angry violators and bring the situation under control.

The town continues to be tense, and authorities have decided not to relax the curfew today.

The separatist coordination committee comprising of representatives of both groups of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, local traders and lawyers had called for a Valley wide general strike on Monday to coincide with the landing of the first batch of Indian troops this day in 1947.

The separatists and the local bar association had decided to form a human chain between the lower court premises and high court building nearly a km apart.

The moderate APHC chairman, Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq had announced to lead the today's protests and asked women to form another from chain from uptown Dalgate locality to the United Nations Military Observers Group office in Srinagar.

The state authorities, however, decided to enforce strict security restrictions disallowing any movement in the city.

The restrictions were in place as the people woke up in the morning and tried to move out.

Heavy paramilitary CRPF and police deployments had been made across the city restricting the movement of the locals.
The city is deserted as were other valley towns. However, the day passed off peacefully, according to a senior police officer.  Mirwaiz and other separatist leaders were placed under house arrest by the authorities.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar