Kashmir: Curfew continue for 12th day in the Valley, Toll Climbs to 43


Kashmir: Authorities decided to impose curfew in the Valley on Tuesday for the 12th day running while separatists extended the protest shutdown for another three days here in Jammu and Kashmir. While three more civilians, including two women, have been killed and three others injured in a fresh clash in Qazigund area of South Kashmir since Monday.

Police said four other persons were injured in the firing incident. At least 45 people, including 43 civilian protesters and two policemen, have been killed in the spiralling violence that began in the Valley after a Hizbul commander was killed along with two of his associates in a gunfight with the security forces on July 7.

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Authorities have snapped all mobile Internet connectivity and also suspended calling facility on mobile phones across the Valley. Limited mobile phone connectivity is, however, available to subscribers on post paid mobile phones provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). No vernacular or English language newspaper has been published in the Valley for the last three days.

Amitabh Mattoo, advisor to the state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, told media that the decision to ban publication of newspapers was not taken at the instance of the Chief Minister. Mattoo said the decision was taken at “the local level and heads would soon roll for taking such a harsh decision”. In a related development, the state government on Monday shifted Senior Superintendent of police (SSP) Badgam, Fayaz Ahmad as sources said he had been transferred for stopping printing of some local newspapers whose establishments are situated in Badgam district.

Mufti has convened an all party meeting in summer capital Srinagar on July 21 to discuss the prevailing law and order situation in the Valley. Opposition National Conference, Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist and others have been invited to the meeting. Addressing a meeting of senior bureaucrats in summer capital Srinagar on Monday, Mehbooba Mufti stressed on the importance of opening educational institutions as soon as possible to protect the future of students.

Schools, colleges and universities have been closed by the authorities till July 25 because of the prevailing law and order situation in the Valley. Meanwhile, the separatists including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik have announced extension of the protest shutdown till Friday. Security has been further tightened in the Valley as Pakistan government has announced to observe a “Black Day” on Tuesday to express solidarity with the people of Kashmir.

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