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Curfew mars life in Kashmir
SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI, AUG 10 (IANS):
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Published on 10 Aug. 2010 9:30 PM IST
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Life across Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar was paralysed Tuesday as authorities imposed curfew in the old city while a separatist called shutdown marred activities in the other areas.
“Curfew continues in old city areas of Srinagar and uptown Maisuma and Batmaloo localities while restrictions have been eased in uptown areas.
“These preventive measures are in place to protect civilian life and property from the designs of anti-social elements,” a senior police official said here.
The hardline Hurriyat group headed by Syed Ali Geelani has called for a protest shutdown across the valley Tuesday to highlight alleged human rights violations by the security forces.
Stone pelting youth targeted private vehicles at Nishat and old Barzalla in Srinagar forcing the vehicles to keep off the roads.
A large procession of protesters has gathered in central Kashmir’s Nowgam, south Kashmir’s Koimoh and north Kashmir’s Bandipora towns.
“We are closely monitoring the situation across the valley to prevent any largescale violence here,” said another police official.
Restrictions have also been imposed in some south and north Kashmir towns to maintain law and order.
So far, 50 civilians have been killed in security forces firing during clashes in the valley since June 11.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also chaired a cabinet meeting in which it was decided that all state ministers would donate one week’s salary for the relief of the victims in the Leh disaster and the families of those killed in violence in the valley.
The cabinet also appealed to around half a million government employees of the state to donate a day’s salary towards the cause.
PM calls for new beginning
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Tuesday that he could empathise with the pain and suffering of the youth in the Kashmir Valley.
In his first statement on the troubled situation in the Valley since clashes broke out on June 11, the prime minister also issued an appeal to the youth and said they should go back to their schools and colleges and resume studies.
In a televised speech in Urdu, he said he could understand the “dard aur mayusi” of the people.
Calling for a new beginning, the prime minister said there had been very little development (“bahut kam tarakki”) in Jammu and Kashmir. He also expressed anguish over the killings in the Kashmir Valley in violent protests and the deaths in flashfloods in Ladakh.
“I feel the pain of those who have lost their dear ones in the violent protests in the Kashmir Valley,” Manmohan Singh said while opening a meeting with leaders of all political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stayed away.
The meeting started with a two-minute silence to mourn the deaths in Jammu and Kashmir.
Further, the government Tuesday said it has approved a Rs.100 crore (around $22 million) scheme for strengthening broadcasting signals in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir to counter anti-India propaganda in the state.
“There are reports that anti-India propaganda is received in the state of Jammu and Kashmir from across the border. Several programmes have been mounted by All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) to counter such propaganda,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told parliament in response to a question.
The minister added that AIR and DD were improving their coverage in Jammu and Kashmir and other border areas by strengthening their network.
“The government has approved a scheme amounting to Rs.100 crore for strengthening the transmission of broadcasting signals in border areas of J&K,” she told the Rajya Sabha.

 
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