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Curfew lifted: Anger boils down on Kashmir streets
Bilal Bhat
Special Correspondent
Last Updated : 16 Feb 2013 06:44:59 PM IST
Curfew in Kashmir valley
Vehicles on streets after curfew was lifted from Srinagar and Kashmir valley on Saturday.

Curfew was on Saturday lifted from Kashmir and mobile Internet services restored, a week after the restrictions were imposed following hanging of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.

" Curfew has been lifted from all the ten districts in the Valley," a police spokesman said.

However, normal life remained affected as hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani yesterday extended till tomorrow the strike over Guru?s execution and in support of the demand for return of his body to his family.

Shops and business establishments remained closed, while public transport was of the roads due to the strike call. Private vehicles could be seen plying on the roads in the city
and other major towns in the Valley.

In a relief for five lakh mobile Internet subscribers in the Valley, Internet services were restored late last evening.

Internet services were snapped last Saturday as a precautionary measure as authorities apprehended that trouble-makers may misuse social networking tools for fomenting trouble by spreading rumours.

A police spokesman said the situation across the Valley was peaceful and there were no reports of any untoward incident.

Curfew was imposed in Kashmir last week following execution of Guru inside Tihar Jail in Delhi.

Three persons died and over 60 others injured including 25 policemen in the clashes between protesters and security forces following Guru?s execution.

Curfew lifted from Kashmir Valley, Internet services restored:

Facebook posts read:
By Hannan Peer

Time and again our brave brothers have stood up for the cause and everytime they have been branded as terrorists , wagabonds ,xtremists. Few even went further n said that they have been paid to pelt stones . Stones represent our struggle against oppression . Its request to all to glorify our bravehearts .. Those who have writing skills , potray them as the face of revolution .. Those who r good with brush n paint , draw for revolution .. Hactivists n activists are doing their bit .. Its time for all of us use ur skills , watever u r good at , use it to present our revolution

Remember the day when Kasab was hanged? The secrecy was maintained. Go and see what Omar Abdullah tweeted then. He said that if this can be done in secrecy, others could be done as well. He was hinting at Afzal Guru. There is no reason not to believe that he was not aware about it or rather, knew about it. Added by  Saahil Aakaash

And stones start being pelted! Cheeni said By Huma Dar and Nasir Patiguru

Chowk gets seasons first stones, just moments after curfew was off. Commented by Abid Bashir

SK Colony Islamabad: Army picked up a boy, beat up innocents, smashed doors, broke window panes and vandalised everything. said Mohammad Faysal

Protests in Main Chowk Baramulla. Feel sad for the fruitseller. expressed by Aamir Wani

Shouldn't we collect money and make sure people people who get affected have someone to count on?

Facebook pages are flooded with the messages that either encouraged the protests or expressed the need for a humanitarian aid keeping in view the continuous siege. Many parts of Kashmir saw a respite for some time but when anger boiled on the streets the government re-imposed the curfew in various parts.

The police wanted to test the waters to see if the anger among the people has subsided. Director General Police, Ashok Prasad announced that there will be no curfew on Saturday. And soon a protest march to Eidgah, where Afzal’s empty grave tombstone was stolen, was taken out from Nowhatta and other adjoining areas. Youngsters led the leaderless protest march. When the whole protest went out of hand, Police and paramilitary used pepper guns to disburse them. Lot of gun shots were heard but no one knows what happened actually. Heavy stone pelting was going on in most parts of downtwn”, an eyewitness narrated.

In Anantnag anger boiled on the streets forcing the government to re-impose the curfew. Heavy protests and stone pelting continued even after the curfew.

Meanwhile, Baramulla and Kupwara also remained on boil after police announced ‘no curfew’. “This was like an insult to the people. They keep lock us indoor as and when they wish and release us on their choice. We don’t want to be with them” an angry protester in downtown said.

Political analysts of Kashmir have many questions as to why has curfew been lifted across the Kashmir valley at a time when protests were expected. Their point of suspicion goes to an extent that they blame police for a ‘genocide’. “They want to kill our boys one by one and not make it look an organized genocide,” retired schoolteacher watching the protest march in Srinagar said. “The government though that within a week the sentiments of people might have watered down. But it seems the estimation was wrong, given the fact that they had to re-impose the curfew,” said Dr Sheikh Showkat, professor at the Central University of Kashmir.

Kashmir remained under siege for 7 days. On Afzal’s hanging the whole Kashmir was turned into a ‘big prison’. When people ventured out for morning prayers on 9th Feb (day of execution) they were greeted with scores of police and paramilitary. Unaware of the development they were caught by a surprise. Some were lucky to enter the Mosque and others were sent back to their homes.

Afzal’s death might have satisfied the “collective conscience” of lakhs of people in India but it obviously reinforced the alienation among the Kashmiris. 29 years ago Maqbool Bhat was hanged and his mortal remains are still lying with the jail same way Afzal’s are lying with them.

After Afzal was executed, Kashmir was put under a ‘security blanket’. Hunderds of troops were mobilized to enforce the strict curfew. Gag orders issued to ensure no information is leaked out. Internet services were banned to stop news going out in the virtual world. “The decision of collective punishment to whole Kashmir was a part of the hanging decision. The unwritten decision to punish Kashmir in toto was for those who didn’t want to see us mourning on Afzal hanging” said Lubna Reshi, a Srinagar based journalist.

Source: IANS, Other Agencies, Staff Reporters
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