Restrictions re-imposed in Handwara after 3-hour relaxation
Srinagar, Apr 18: Handwara, the epicentre of ongoing unrest in Kashmir, and its adjoining areas continued to witness trouble today, prompting re-imposition of curfew-like restrictions after a three-hour relaxation even though mobile internet services were restored after four-day suspension.
As the cycle of violence showed no signs of stopping, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti appealed to the people to help restore peace, promising severe punishment to those found guilty in Handwara and Kupwara incidents during which five civilians were killed in firing by security forces.
Authorities today gave a three-hour relaxation from curfew-like restrictions in Handwara town in Kupwara district and adjoining areas from 8 am to 11 am with an intention of extending it if the period passed off peacefully.
However, the relaxation period saw around 150 youth pelting stones in Handwara town, a police official said.
"The protestors were chased away and there was no damage," he said, adding that the curbs were then re-imposed.
"Restrictions were imposed again in Handwara, Trehgam and Kralgund areas of Kupwara district following violent protests," the official said.
In Srinagar, a group of students at Kashmir University staged a protest inside the Hazratbal campus against the killings in Handwara and Kupwara towns, the official said.
He said a handful of students also organised a similar protest at Islamic University of Science and Technology in Awantipora area of Pulwama district. At both the varsities, the students dispersed peacefully.
The authorities also restored mobile internet services across Kashmir valley at the stroke of midnight after keeping the services suspended for four days. The decision to restore the mobile internet services was taken as there was no major incident of protest or violence across Kashmir valley yesterday.
Handwara town in north Kashmir and some adjoining areas have been under curfew-like restrictions since Tuesday last following allegations of molestation of a girl which triggered violence.
Three persons including a woman were killed in firing by security forces on protestors on Tuesday while two more persons were killed in separate security forces's action against protestors on Wednesday at Drugmulla and on Friday at Nathnusa.
The Chief Minister, who was in Jammu, underlined the need for peace and tranquility in the state, saying these are a prerequisite for development and if they are absent, it is the common people who bear the burden.
"I appeal to my people especially to the youth that wherever there is injustice, strict action would be taken and severe punishment would be given," she said while talking to reporters on the sidelines of an event.
She was asked about the action taken against those involved in the violence in Handwara and Kupwara that left five persons dead.