Clashes and protests broke out at several places in restive India-controlled Kashmir Monday after authorities relaxed curfew in majority of the areas, officials said.
The curfew was relaxed after a period of 51 days in most of the parts except southern town of Pulwama and two areas in Srinagar city Maharaj Gunj and Nowhatta.
However, reports pouring in from most of the places said anti-India protests broke out with angry youth taking to streets chanting slogans “Go India Go Back” and “We want – Freedom”. The protesters clashing with police and paramilitary personnel by throwing brickbats and stones on them, who responded by firing tear gas shells.
A police spokesman said curfew was lifted following improvement in situation. However, it said some people in their effort to disturb the situation pelted stones on police deployments.
“Minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Sopore, Kupwara and Bandipora,” the spokesman said. “Except for these incidents, overall situation remained peaceful and under control.”
Locals in Srinagar said restrictions were imposed in several areas of Srinagar immediately after the clashes.
Large-scale protests against New Delhi’s rule are going on in the Muslim majority areas of the restive region since July 8, following the killing of a top militant commander.
So far 68 civilians and two Indian policemen were killed, and thousands of others including government forces personnel were injured in the ongoing unrest. Despite prolonged curfew and restrictions to clampdown on protesters, there seems to be no end to the cycle of clashes and protests.
Reports said an all party delegation from New Delhi headed by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh would visit Kashmir this weekend to reach out to Kashmiris. Singh last week told media in Srinagar city that Indian government would soon come up with an alternative to pellet guns, which are currently used to control street protests.
Indian-controlled Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday called on Indian Prime Minster in New Delhi over the Kashmir situation. Mufti strongly defends the government forces and claims only five per cent people in restive region were resorting to agitation and remaining 95 per cent people want to resolve the Kashmir issue through peaceful means.
A separatist movement and guerrilla war challenging New Delhi’s rule is going on in Indian-controlled Kashmir since 1989.
Kashmir, the Himalayan region divided between India and Pakistan, is claimed by both in full. Since their Independence from Britain, the two countries have fought three wars, two exclusively over Kashmir.
The weeks of turbulence in Indian-controlled Kashmir has added a new confrontation in the already strained relations between the two countries.