Posts Tagged ‘Srinagar’

Kashmir on a knife edge once again after security forces kill three youths

June 22, 2010

By Andrew Buncombe in Delhi, The Independent/UK, June  22, 2010

Indian police chase protesters in Srinagar on Sunday;
AP

Indian police chase protesters in Srinagar on Sunday

Kashmir is boiling again. The killing of three young men by security forces in the past ten days has ratcheted up tension and sent hundreds of demonstrators into the streets.

The Indian authorities have responded by deploying thousands of police and paramilitary forces.

Yesterday, the city of Srinagar, capital of the Kashmir valley, was brought to a standstill as separatists called yet another strike to protest against the killing of the young Muslim men. Police have imposed a strict curfew in an effort to halt the demonstrations that have reverberated around the city. The most recent protests date from June 11 when a 17-year-old student was killed by police as they fired at demonstrators during a routine protest in the city.

Continues >>

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Protester death sparks fresh Kashmir clashes, 25 hurt

May 28, 2009
news.yahoo.com, May 27, 2009
Reuters

Protester death sparks fresh Kashmir clashes, 25 hurt Reuters – A Kashmiri protester throws a piece of brick towards an Indian policeman during a protest in Srinagar …

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – At least 25 people were injured in Kashmir’s main city on Wednesday when hundreds of stone throwing residents, angered over a young protester’s death, clashed with Indian troops, police and witnesses said.

Police fired scores of teargas shells to disperse protesters who took to streets for a second day on Wednesday in Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital, to protest the death of a 20-year-old student.

The student was hit on the head by a teargas shell fired by police last week during a protest against Indian rule in the disputed region. He died on Tuesday.

Last week’s protest rally was the biggest this year in Kashmir which was hit by massive anti-India demonstrations last year.

A police official, Abdul Qayum, said the injured included eight security force personnel. “The clashes continue,” he said.

Tens of thousands have been killed in the disputed Himalayan region since a revolt against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

But overall violence has fallen significantly across Kashmir since India and Pakistan began peace talks in 2004, although New Delhi has imposed a “pause” in that dialogue after the Mumbai attack in November.

Kashmir shuts in poll protest, troops patrol

April 30, 2009
Reuters

Reuters – Indian policemen stop traffic at a security barricade in Srinagar April 29, 2009. Government forces locked …

SRINAGAR (Reuters) – Government forces locked down Kashmir’s main city on Wednesday to thwart planned protests against India’s general election, renewing tensions in the disputed region after a short period of relative calm.

Troops patrolled deserted streets and erected barricades in Srinagar, cutting off residential areas after separatists called a two-day strike from Wednesday. Shops and businesses also remained closed. Voting is scheduled on Thursday.

New Delhi is frustrated by our resistance movement, and not allowing us to carry out peaceful protests against the polls is a shameful act,” said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the separatists alliance, the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference.

The boycott call, which came suddenly after two rounds of voting in rest of India, is seen as a bid by the separatists to deny New Delhi any credit for holding an election in Kashmir.

Analysts say the rebels also want to avoid a repeat of a successful local election last year when Kashmiris voted in large numbers, though many saw it as a vote for better governance rather than acceptance of Indian rule.

Hurriyat’s decision came after United Jihad Council (UJC), a Pakistan-based amalgam of 13-militant groups fighting Indian troops in Kashmir, asked it to support their boycott call.

India’s general election began this month, but voting in the Kashmir valley has been split into three phases starting from April 30. The staggered voting is to allow thousands of security forces to move around the troubled region.

Most of the senior separatist leaders including Farooq, hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik were placed under house arrest, police said.

The Muslim-majority region last year witnessed some of the biggest pro-independence protests since a separatist revolt against Indian rule erupted 20 years ago. But those protests tapered off and a state election was held peacefully in December.

Aside from Congress, other parties contesting the polls include the main opposition Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, the regional National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party.

More than 47,000 people have been killed in the region since discontent against New Delhi’s rule turned into a full-blown rebellion in 1989. Separatists put the toll at 100,000.

Indian troops on alert to halt Kashmir protests

February 26, 2009

Sheikh Mushtaq

Reuters North American News Service

Feb 25, 2009 04:13 EST

SRINAGAR, India, Feb 25 (Reuters) – Thousands of Indian police and soldiers locked down Kashmir’s main city on Wednesday to prevent separatist protests over the killings of two Muslim men, blamed on the army.

In Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital, troops patrolled deserted streets and erected barricades, cutting off residential enclaves after the weekend killings in north Kashmir sparked fresh protests against Indian rule in the disputed region.

Shops and businesses remained closed across the Kashmir valley in protest. Last year, the Muslim-majority region witnessed some of the biggest pro-independence protests since a separatist revolt against Indian rule erupted 20 years ago.

Those protests had tapered off and state elections were held peacefully in December.

At least 10 people were injured on Wednesday when police and stone-throwing protesters clashed in Srinagar, police said.

“Killing the innocents in cold blood is a shameful act,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the separatists alliance, the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, said.

The state government and the army, which has widespread powers of arrest in Kashmir, have ordered separate investigations into the deaths.

More than 47,000 people have been killed in the region since discontent against New Delhi’s rule turned into a full-blown rebellion in 1989. Separatists put the toll at 100,000.

But overall violence involving Indian troops and separatist guerrillas has declined significantly across Kashmir since India and Pakistan began a slow-moving peace process in 2004.

New Delhi put a pause on that dialogue after last November’s Mumbai attacks in which 179 people were killed. (Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee and Jerry Norton)

Source: Reuters North American News Service

Peaceful struggle to gain freedom from Indian rule to continue in Kashmir: Yasin Malik

September 13, 2008

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Srinagar, Sep 12: Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Muhammad Yasin Malik on Friday said the ongoing peaceful struggle would continue till Kashmir gets “Azadi.”

Addressing a pro-freedom rally at historic Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) here after he was bought out by the people from his residence where he was under house arrest since September 1, Malik said, “Our ongoing freedom struggle would continue till Kashmir achieves freedom.”

He said more than 50 people including youth were killed by the paramilitary CRPF troopers and police since the recent pro-freedom uprising in Kashmir. “These and thousands of Kashmir people have offered sacrifices to achieve freedom. We can’t betray our people. We would fight till we achieve our goal,” said Malik.

Malik accused paramilitary troopers and police of “unleashing reign of terror” on people to suppress the ongoing struggle. “A reign of terror has been let loose by Indian agencies that have started intimidating, arresting and harassing Kashmir people especially youth and government employees. This is a new tactic used by the government to harass the people and suppress the freedom struggle,” Malik said.

The government, Malik accused, has re-activated the Ikhwanis and SOG personnel in many parts of the Kashmir especially south Kashmiri’s Islamabad to harass the people.

“Such repressive tactics can’t suppress our will to seek Azadi. The more New Delhi and the state government would use force to silent the Kashmiri people, more would the determination among the Kashmiri people to seek their right of freedom,” Malik said, moments before he was injured when police fired teargas canisters and resorted to baton charging to disperse hundreds of protesters who had again thronged the Ghanta Ghar seeking Azadi.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Malik said the recent economic blockade enforced by some extremist groups in Jammu to Kashmir “has only resolved the determination of Kashmiris to get freedom. It infused new blood to the ongoing freedom struggle and the turn out of lakhs of people for an attempted march to Muzaffarabad, and march to Pampore, TRC ground and Eidgah should be a clear message for India that Kashmir wants freedom.”

Malik urged people to follow the program by Coordination Committee and hold peaceful protests.

Earlier, Moulvi Showkat Ahmad, senior leader Jamiat-e-Ahlehadees and Mushtaq-ul-Islam also addressed the rallies.

Israeli Army chief in Kashmir?

September 11, 2008
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Srinagar, Sept 10: Israel’s Army chief, Major General Avi Mizrahi has arrived in Kashmir on an unscheduled visit, reports said today. However authorities here are tightlipped about the visit and they neither confirm nor deny the reports.
Maj Gen Avi Mizrahi, the chief of the Israeli ground forces, arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday on a three-day visit. He met the chiefs of India’s army, navy and air force and discussed matters of mutual concern, including joint military training and exercises for the two armed forces.
Israel has offered to train Indian troops in counter-insurgency and anti-militant operations, the reports from New Delhi added.
When contacted by Greater Kashmir, Defense spokesman A K Mathur neither confirmed nor denied reports about the visit.
Gen Mizrahi’s visit comes at a time when Kashmir is engulfed in a massive anti-India uprising. At least 50 Kashmiris have been killed in police and troops firing in the recent uprising that began two months back with the tensions still high.
India and Israel have shared defense co-operation since diplomatic relations between New Delhi and Tel Aviv were established in 1992. The ties have become stronger in recent times with India emerging as the largest purchaser of Israeli arms since the beginning of the 21st century.
India has purchased the Phalcons Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems from Israel that would be fitted onto the Indian Air Force’s three IL-76 heavy-lift transport aircraft.
It has also bought the Green Pine radars that warn of incoming enemy ballistic missiles.
The Indian armed forces also use Israeli unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance. The Indian Army uses Israeli night-vision equipment, particularly in Kashmir.

Kashmiris Seek Trade Route to Pakistan

September 9, 2008

Hindus Blocked Off Road to New Delhi

By Emily Wax
Washington Post Foreign Service, Monday, September 8, 2008

SRINAGAR, India — After Hindu protesters blocked the only road connecting predominantly Muslim Kashmir with the rest of India last month, Altaf Bukhari, like many business owners in this disputed Himalayan region, became convinced of the need for an alternative trade outlet.

The most logical solution to the impasse is reopening a historic road that was closed to trade when the Indian subcontinent was partitioned in 1947. Part of the ancient Silk Road connecting Europe with Asia, it winds from Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, to the bustling market town of Rawalpindi, in Pakistan, 100 miles away.

It’s a direct route to a city far closer than Kashmir’s trading partner of New Delhi, India’s capital, about 400 miles away. But several political twists and turns must be navigated before the road can be used again for commerce.

India says it is ready to open the old trade route but has taken few steps to do so. It blames Pakistan for the delay. Pakistan has blamed India. But last week Pakistan proposed a meeting with the Indian government to discuss reopening the route as quickly as possible.

Kashmiri business leaders say everyone is watching eagerly. If India and Pakistan reopen the road, it could go a long way toward building confidence among entrepreneurs in Indian-controlled Kashmir, which has seen some of the largest pro-independence demonstrations this summer since an uprising against Indian rule broke out in 1989.

Tens of millions of dollars were lost in the fruit industry alone during the blockade, said Bukhari, an agricultural businessman. Family farms fell into debt, he said, adding that the business community learned how vulnerable it is under Indian rule.

“This blockade has changed our psychology completely. There is a real fear psychosis now,” Bukhari said, adding that he lost almost $1 million when his plums, pears and freshly packed apple juice couldn’t make it to Indian markets last month. “For us, business is business, and India is a good market, but it’s now created a fear in our minds.”

Along with chants of “Azadi,” or “Freedom,” demonstrators in Srinagar this summer were chanting, “Kashmir’s market is in Rawalpindi.”

“Everyone has woken up to the fact that economic independence would be completely powerful. India can shut us down any time it wants, and that is a terrifying thing,” said Nisar Ali, an economics professor at the University of Kashmir. “Opening the trade route to Pakistan, a nearby and logical road, is an idea whose time has come. Opening the road would go a long way to cooling down temperatures — a long way.”

Pakistan and India have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir, since 1947. Both claim Kashmir but control only parts of it. Human rights groups estimate that the conflict has left 77,000 people dead and as many as 10,000 missing.

Tensions appeared to be easing. But a crisis erupted in Kashmir in June when Muslims launched protests over a government decision to transfer land to a Hindu shrine, saying it was a settlement plan designed to alter the religious balance in India’s only Muslim-majority region. After the plan was rescinded, Hindus took to the streets of Jammu city, in the predominantly Hindu part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, demanding its restoration.

At least 35 unarmed protesters were killed by Indian security forces during peaceful self-rule demonstrations after the land dispute. A nine-day curfew was imposed late last month, and several separatist leaders were arrested.

A degree of calm has since been restored. The curfew was lifted last week at the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, and the separatist leaders were released from jail, although they remain under house arrest. The land-deal controversy was settled, in what many observers see as a draw: The Hindu shrine would be able to use the land during the three-month pilgrimage season but would not own it. The roadblocks that caused the economic blockade have been removed.

Still, the reopening of the road to Pakistan remains a powerful rallying cry among Kashmiris.

“The blockade was really an act of war that left children without milk and patients without medicine,” said Yasin Malik, a separatist leader. “It really woke up the business community to what azadi and what self-reliance would mean. It won’t be forgotten.”

For the Ahmed family, the reopening of the road would mean food on the table, money for schools and safety for the two oldest sons, who ply the dangerous route to New Delhi.

Sitting on the floor of his family’s kitchen with his head wrapped in gauze, Wahid Ahmed, 23, and his brother Munir, 24, said they were attacked while trying to bring a truckload of about 100 sheep from New Delhi to Kashmir.

The Indian army said it would escort them, the brothers said. But the soldiers later left them, saying all was safe. Soon afterward, the brothers said, they were pelted with stones by groups connected to India’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which was protesting the overturning of the land deal.

“We are afraid to try again,” said Wahid, who had 15 stitches. Family members, listening nearby, said they needed the brothers’ earnings. “We have no other road to choose,” Wahid said. “We just hope things are safe now.”

Wide protests in Kashmir Valley on Coordination Committee call

September 6, 2008
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Police quell demonstration at Geelani’s house

Srinagar, Sep 5: The call for peaceful protests after Friday prayers by the Coordination Committee evoked tremendous response across the Valley in spite of heavy rains in the afternoon.
However police used extensive force to quell peaceful processions outside the house of Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, at Hyderpora here and south Kashmir’s Islamabad district injuring dozens of persons.
The Coordination Committee, which is an amalgam of various pro-freedom parties, traders, lawyers and members of the civil society, had called for peaceful protests after Friday prayers.
Maisuma sit-in
Pro-freedom slogans rented Maisuma and its adjoining areas when hundreds of people staged a peaceful sit-in there amidst heavy rains.
After the Friday prayers a massive procession took off from Central Jamia Masjid Gaw Kadal, led by president of Jamait-e-Ahlihadis, Maulana Showkat. Hurriyat leaders Shahid-ul-Islam and Javid Ahmad Mir and Showkat Bakshi and Bashir Ahmad Bhat of JKLF participated in the sit-in at Maisuma.
The procession was joined by a large number of people, including the traders and shopkeepers of Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas. Shouting pro-freedom slogans the protesters staged a sit-in for half-an-hour at the Maisuma Chowk.
“We want freedom,” the protesters continuously shouted as the troopers of paramilitary CRPF looked on. Addressing the gathering, Maulana Showkat appealed people to maintain unity and make programmes of the Coordination Committee successful.
Talking to Greater Kashmir on the spot, Shahid-ul-Islam termed the peaceful protests across the Valley as huge success. “India cannot suppress the sentiments and aspirations of Kashmiris. The administration led by puppet Governor made all attempts to stop the Lal Chowk march. But we are determined to carry out the march soon and no power can stop it,” Shahid-ul-Islam said.

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Srinagar: Hurriyat calls for peaceful protests; curfew continues

September 1, 2008
SRINAGAR: Curfew continued across the Kashmir valley for the ninth day Monday with the Hurriyat calling for peaceful protests but authorities treading with caution following the deal to set aside 40 hectares of land for the Amarnath shrine board to use during the pilgrimage season.There were no reports of curfew relaxation from anywhere in the valley on Monday, when the joint coordination committee of both the Hurriyat groups, headed by hardline Syed Ali Geelani and the moderate wing chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, has called for peaceful protests.

“The curfew restrictions would be relaxed in a phased manner at different places, but only after careful assessment about the law and order situation by the district magistrates concerned,” a state government official said.

Though Sunday had started with curfew relaxations across the Valley, authorities said on Monday they were apprehensive that the separatist call might evoke a huge response.

On Sunday, curfew had to be reimposed quickly in the entire old city area of Srinagar, Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag and Kupwara districts as violent protests broke out following the agreement between the Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti and the four-member panel of the state government regarding the 40 hectares of forest land.

The agreement, which led to the situation in Jammu cooling down, has been welcomed by the regional National Conference and the Congress parties here.

However, the People’s Democratic Party has opposed it saying it was “unilateral and amounted to surrender before communal forces by the administration”.

Curfew continues in Srinagar; toll rises to six

August 26, 2008
The Times of India, August 26, 2008
Curfew continues in Srinagar

A woman speaks to a cop on the third day of a curfew in Srinagar. (Reuters Photo)

SRINAGAR: A person injured in clashes in the Kashmir Valley died early Tuesday taking the toll in the ongoing violence in the region since Sunday to six as curfew remained clamped for the third consecutive day.

Bashir Ahmad Bahar, who was injured in firing by security forces at Hajan in Bandipora district on Monday succumbed to injuries at a hospital here this morning, official sources said.

Four persons were killed and 80 injured in escalating violence in the Valley on Monday when security forces opened fire on curfew-defying protesters at several parts of the state.

One person was killed in security forces firing in Dalgate area of the city on Sunday, when authorities imposed curfew in all 10 districts of the Valley.

The stone-pelting protesters were shot when security forces tried to disperse those who rallied across the Kashmir valley defying curfew in all its ten districts.

The authorities arrested top separatist leaders including chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF leader Mohammad Yaseen Malik in a midnight swoop on Sunday to prevent them from organising a march to Lal Chowk.

Police also conducted raids at many places and picked up a dozen second rung separatist leaders. Army was assisting police in all districts barring Srinagar to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, for the second consecutive day today, the local newspapers failed to hit stands in view of the curfew, after 17 media persons were allegedly thrashed by personnel of the law enforcing agencies on Monday.


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