Kashmir remains on edge as PM calls for peace
Srinagar/New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday appealed for peace in Jammu and Kashmir where more than 30 people have been killed in widespread protests after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani.
Modi chaired a high-level meeting in New Delhi and voiced concern over the incidents of violence in the Kashmir Valley, where curfew continued for a fourth consecutive day.
“Prime Minister has appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to maintain calm and peace so that normalcy returns and no innocent lives are disturbed,” Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh told reporters after the meeting.
The meeting was attended by Modi’s senior cabinet colleagues.
In Kashmir, amid curfew in most parts of the valley, the authorities grappled to control continuing violence that has also left nearly 1,400 people wounded, many seriously, in clashes between thousands of protesters and security forces.
Police said “strict curfew shall continue” almost all across the valley to prevent the spillover of street violence and counter-violence.
The protests erupted over the weekend after security killed the 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest rebel group, Hizbul Mujahideen, and his two associates in a south Kashmir village on Friday.
On Tuesday, Amir Nazir Latoo, who was injured in firing at Chief Minister Mehbooba MuftiÂ’s hometown in Bijbehara, succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Srinagar, doctors said.
The latest death took the toll to 33, including a police driver, who was drowned by an angry mob in the Jhelum river near Sangam village.
All business and other aspects of normal life remained completely paralysed. Mobile internet facility remained cut off across the valley and cell phone operations in south Kashmir’s Shopian, Anantnag, Kulgam and Pulwama districts also remained suspended.
Train services were also suspended for a fourth day as protesters damaged railway tracks at many places in south Kashmir.
There was an eerie calm on SrinagarÂ’s deserted streets, with no reports of fresh protests in the state capital.
However, police sources said protests erupted at a Â“couple of placesÂ” in south Kashmir. The dead militant commander belonged to this region.
In north Kashmir Sopore town, gunmen fired upon a police patrol but Â“no one was injured in the attackÂ”, a police officer told IANS.
Separatist groups have extended the ongoing protest shutdown in the valley until Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the annual Amaranth Hindu pilgrimage that resumed on Monday after remaining suspended for two days continued as some 300 vehicles carrying pilgrims from different states of India entered the Kashmir Valley on Monday night.
“All the yatris have safety reached the Baltal base camp (in north Kashmir) and are now proceeding towards the cave shrine in regulated batches,” said an official of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the annual pilgrimage.