Fresh protests erupted in Srinagar and some other parts of Kashmir yesterday, after the authorities eased restrictions on the movement of people in the Valley. At places, irate crowds of mainly youth clashed with the security forces, leaving a large number of people injured.
The security forces fired teargas canisters and reportedly also pellet shotguns to disperse the stone-pelting mobs at a few places. However, Jammu and Kashmir government spokesperson Rohit Kansal said that only eight people were injured in six to seven such incidents and that in none of these more than 30-40 stone-pelters took part. He also claimed, “These incidents didn’t happen in the areas, where relaxation was given.”
He said that no untoward incident was reported from the areas, where security restrictions were eased. He said that the process of easing curbs would continue in these areas on Sunday also.
While central Srinagar and its neighbourhood continued to be tense with security forces in riot-gear patrolling the streets and enforcing restrictions, the civil lines area and peripheries of the summer capital witnessed an increased movement of people and plying of private cars and two-wheelers. Skeleton public transport service, mainly Sumo cabs, was also available for the first time in two weeks.
Some shops, mainly groceries and pharmacies, in the civil lines areas of the city and its neighbourhood opened on Saturday morning. Some fuel stations were also serving customers.
Kansal said that relaxation was given in 35 police station areas across the Valley. He said that easing in restrictions resulted in people coming out besides private vehicle plying on roads in the areas where relaxation was given. He said that more than 23,000 landline phone connections would be made functional by Saturday evening. He said that 17 out of 96 telephone exchanges had already reopened across the Valley and the remaining ones would be restored for landline phone services by Sunday evening.