Shutdown, undeclared curfew continues for second day in Kashmir

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KashmirLife across Muslim majority areas of India-controlled Kashmir Monday remained affected for the second straight day due to restrictions imposed by authorities and the shutdown called by separatist groups.

Huge contingents of Indian police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed in Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir and other towns to enforce strict restrictions.

A senior government official said prohibitory orders under government order Section 144 have been imposed in most towns. The order prohibits assembly of more than four persons in public place.

The roads leading to Lal Chowk (red square) in city center have been sealed with coils of concertina.

“Yesterday there were certain incidents of stone throwing but by and large the situation remained peaceful,” a police spokesman said.

Reports said protests broke out Monday in Bandipora, Ganderbal, Sopore and Shopian.The restrictions were imposed Sunday to prevent protest demonstrations and clashes over demands from separatists seeking return of mortal remains of two Kashmiris – Mohammad Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat – hanged and buried in New Delhi’s Tihar jail.

Guru, was executed last year for his role in the 2001 Indian parliament building attack, while as Bhat was executed on February 11, 1984 on charges of murdering an Indian intelligence officer. He was among the founder members of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), a pro-independent group.

Many in the region believe Guru and Bhat were denied fair-trail. Separatists ahead of the anniversaries have renewed their demands of seeking mortal remains of Guru and Bhat and announced a three- day-long shutdown and protest call to pressure New Delhi.

The restrictions have affected the normal life and movement of vehicular traffic on the roads. Shops, banks and government offices remained closed in wake of the shutdown and restrictions.

Every year since 1990, a strike was being observed in the region on Feb. 11 to mark death anniversary of Bhat. However, with the hanging of Guru last year, the strike period has been extended to three days from this year.

A separatist movement challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989. Militant groups are also engaged in a guerrilla war with Indian troops across the restive region.

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