Restrictions, shutdown continue as tension grips Kashmir

Srinagar, April 16 (IANS) Authorities have decided to continue the curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar city and north and south Kashmir areas as tension gripped the Valley on Saturday.

With the death of another teenager Arif Ahmad Dar, 18, in army firing on Friday in Kupwara district, the toll in the five-day long unabated violence has risen to five.

A senior police official said a violent crowd attacked the counter insurgency Rashtriya Rifles (RR) camp in Natnusa area of Kupwara district on Friday evening.

“The mob attacked the RR camp in Natnusa (Kupwara) and despite dozens of bullets fired in the air to warn them, the protesters mounted the wall of the camp and tried to enter it.

“In order to protect their lives and the weapons and ammunition inside the camp, soldiers fired hitting four protesters. One of the protesters has died and the injured are being tried in the hospital.”

Authorities said 60 people, including 40 security men, were injured in clashes in north Kashmir.

Violence also spread to other areas of the Valley, including Baramulla town and other parts of central and north Kashmir.

“To maintain law and order, restrictions will continue in areas falling under Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Safa Kadal, Kralkhud and Maisuma police stations in Srinagar,” Farooq Ahmad Lone, district magistrate Srinagar, said.

Similar restrictions have been imposed in Baramulla town in the north and Pulwama town in the south.

Separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and others, have called for a Valley-wide protest shutdown o Saturday against the killing of the teenager in army firing.

Authorities have also decided to continue the suspension of mobile Internet services in the Valley on Saturday.

“Mobile Internet services have been suspended to prevent spread of rumours by anti-social elements,” a senior police officer said here.

The board of school education and the University of Kashmir have postponed all exams scheduled for Saturday.

Train services between north Kashmir Baramulla town and Banihal town in the Jammu region have also remained suspended since Wednesday.

Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who expressed anguish over the death of the teenager, is likely to visit Kupwara district later in the day.

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