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India reimposes some curbs on movement, phones in Jammu and Kashmir

EconomyAug 18, 2019 08:07AM ET
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© Reuters. Kashmiri man looks out from a window of his house which was allegedly damaged by Indian security forces after clashes between protesters and the security forces on Friday evening, in Srinagar

By Fayaz Bukhari

SRINAGAR (Reuters) - Indian authorities reimposed restrictions on movement in major parts of Kashmir's biggest city, Srinagar, on Sunday after violent overnight clashes between residents and police in which dozens were injured, two senior officials and eyewitnesses said.

They also reversed a decision to allow internet and mobile phone use in parts of the Jammu region, according to one official, amid concerns about the spread of rumors online.

In the past 24 hours, there has been a series of protests against New Delhi's Aug. 5 revocation of Jammu and Kashmir state's autonomy. This followed an easing in curbs on movement and phone use on Saturday morning.

The state government has said that it has not imposed a curfew over the past two weeks, but on Sunday people were being turned back at multiple roadblocks set up in the city in the past few hours. Security forces at some roadblocks have told residents there is a curfew.

Two senior government officials told Reuters that at least two dozen people were admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries after violent clashes broke out in the old city on Saturday night.

Representatives in the Jammu and Kashmir government in Srinagar and the federal government in New Delhi did not immediately return calls asking about the latest clampdown or seeking an assessment of the number of injuries and clashes.

One of the official sources said that people pelted security forces with stones in around two dozen places across Srinagar. He said that the intensity of the stone pelting protests has increased over past few days.

CHILI GRENADES

The heavy overnight clashes took place mostly in Rainawari, Nowhetta and Gojwara areas of the old city where Indian troops fired tear smoke, chili grenades and pellets to disperse protesters, eyewitnesses and officials said.

Chili grenades contain very spicy chili pepper, and produce a major eye and skin irritant, as well as a pungent smell, when they are unleashed.

The officials, who declined to be identified because they aren't supposed to talk to the media, said clashes also took place in other parts of the city including Soura, a hotbed of protests in the past two weeks.

A senior government official and hospital authorities at Srinagar's main hospital said that at least 17 people came there with pellet injuries. They said 12 were discharged while five with grievous injuries were admitted.

The hospital officials and a police officer told Reuters that a 65-year-old man, Mohammad Ayub of Braripora, was admitted to the hospital after he had major breathing difficulties when tear gas and chilly grenades were fired in old city area on Saturday afternoon. He died in the hospital on Saturday night and has already been buried, they said.

BLOCKING THE WAY

Javed Ahmad, aged 35, and from the wealthy Rajbagh area of Srinagar, was prevented from going to the old city early Sunday morning by paramilitary police at a barricade near the city center. "I had to visit my parents there. Troops had blocked the road with concertina wire. They asked me to go back as there was curfew in the area," he said. 

Telephone landlines were restored in parts of the city on Saturday after a 12-day blackout, and remained open on Sunday. The state government has said that most telephone exchanges in the region would start working by Sunday evening.

The internet and cell phones remain blocked in Kashmir.

More than 500 political or community leaders and activists remained in detention, and some have been flown to prisons outside the state.

For 30 years in the part of Kashmir that it controls, India has been fighting a revolt in which at least 50,000 people have been killed. Critics say the decision to revoke autonomy will cause further alienation and fuel the armed resistance.

The change will allow non-residents to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir, and end the practice of reserving state government jobs for local residents.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has said the measure is necessary to integrate Kashmir fully into India and speed up its development.

India reimposes some curbs on movement, phones in Jammu and Kashmir
 

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Hermo Genianus
Hermo Genianus Aug 18, 2019 5:05PM ET
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What exactly is happening there?
Krishna Balaji
Krishna Balaji Aug 18, 2019 11:03AM ET
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Good move by the Indian government to remove the article 370.
Jatin Mehta
Jatin Mehta Aug 18, 2019 7:34AM ET
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Some will protest as they think they will loose a lot in the future. There are a lot more that are not protesting but celebrating!! The tragedy is that those that want to celebrate cannot come out and rejoice as the violent mob will want to get them. There is no doubt that the State Constitution left a large portion of people behind with no rights to vote in local election in perpetuation. Many in the international media did not speak up for them but are out in force against the move to correct the imbalance.
shahid kayani
shahid kayani Aug 18, 2019 7:34AM ET
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so what about the voilent RSS mobs that lynch people for transporting cows
Anonymous Alone
Anonymous Alone Aug 18, 2019 7:34AM ET
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The Kashmiris should actually start thinking about development they are a very intelligent people and they can prosper through tourism see nobody is living in peace all of them those in azad Kashmir in POK, Gilgit and Kashmir valley on the Indian side, finally we may say RSS lynching people I don't support that too but one thing is true it is Kashmirs who were subjected to subversion from the beginning and all the leadership families in the valley their children never died it is people like Burhan wani who were radicalized by Pakistan died who instead should have been a doctor or a businessmen, it is common man who is dying while elites are making assets in London, The sole reason for Pakistan to act against India for Kashmir is because the major source of water flows there, after all Islam doesn't teach violence.
Asha Sharma
Asha Sharma Aug 18, 2019 6:09AM ET
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People protesting are digging their own grave or they may be paid by Pakistan to create unrest.
Asha Sharma
Asha Sharma Aug 18, 2019 5:54AM ET
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Why people are protesting ? They should enjoy full democracy now.
 
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