Kashmir curfew widened amid call for Friday protests

Security forces widened a curfew in Kashmir on Friday after the separatists threatened fresh protests against the killing of locals.

Srinagar: Security forces widened a curfew in Kashmir on Friday, the Muslim day of prayers, after the separatists threatened fresh protests against the killing of locals.

"We have widened the curfew to ensure a violence-free Friday," a police officer, who declined to be named, said.

Towns such as Kupwara and Handwara in the north, Kakpora and Pulwama in south and Gandherbal in the east were placed under fresh curfew. Violent flashpoints such as Sopore, Srinigar and Anantnag remain restricted.

Police and paramilitary forces, who have been struggling to control the wave of protests in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley, have been accused of killing 15 civilians in less than a month.

Each death has sparked a new cycle of violence, since the first killing of a 17-year old student in Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir, during Friday protests on June 11 by the police teargas shell.

Hardline separatists urged residents to march to the region`s revered Muslim shrine of Hazratbal in Srinagar on Friday. Two men and a woman were killed in the city on Tuesday.

"Whenever the curfew is relaxed in any of the areas, people are requested to come out on the streets and continue with a peaceful sit-in," a statement by hardliners said.

The Army was called in on Wednesday in Srinagar after residents defied curfew restrictions and held protests. Their presence brought calm to the streets.

No local newspaper hit the stands for the second day running amid tight restrictions on the local and international media. Passes allowing journalists to travel in Srinagar despite the curfew have been cancelled.

"Due to the curbs imposed by the government on media, Greater Kashmir and Kashmir Uzma could not bring out their print editions for second consecutive day, Friday," reads the website of the two leading local newspapers.

Bureau Report

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