Srinagar: Curfew continued in Srinagar and in other major towns in the Kashmir Valley Friday to prevent violent protests that have claimed 48 lives since June. People are facing an acute shortage of essentials in several areas.
"Curfew continues in Srinagar and major towns of the Valley. People are advised to remain indoors and ensure that children do not fall prey to the designs of anti-social and miscreant elements," a senior police officer said here.
During the last seven days, 31 protesters have been killed in security force firing across the valley, taking the toll in the cycle of violence since June 11 to 48.
Over 250 people, including 90 security personnel, have been injured in clashes between the unruly protesters and security forces.
Sources in the local hospitals said half a dozen critically injured civilians are battling for life.
"Most of the injured have sustained bullet injuries during violent clashes with the security men," hospital sources said.
Shops, markets, banks, post offices, educational institutions, and even government-run retail outlets of essential commodities are closed in curfew-bound areas. Public transport has also been affected.
Residents in old city areas complained of an acute shortage of almost all essential commodities, including baby food, medicines and foodstuffs.
"We have not been able to buy any bread, milk or medicines during the last seven days because of the indefinite curfew," said Nazir Ahmad, 34.
"The ration stocks are also running thin and we fear starvation unless the curfew is relaxed and people are allowed to buy essentials," he added.
Police said curfew was being imposed as the last resort to prevent violence.
"Curfew is imposed only after careful evaluation of the situation. This becomes necessary to protect civilian life and property and is always the last option available to us," another senior police officer said.
Reports from other major towns of the valley also indicated that security personnel in full gear were enforcing curfew there.
Mobs have been violating the curfew restrictions in many parts of the valley, resorting to violent protests since last Friday when the fresh cycle of violence erupted.
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, whose Hurriyat group has called for protests and shutdowns, has appealed to the youth to stop violence.
He said violence and stone pelting were not part of the peaceful secessionist campaign launched by his group.