PM calls meeting to review Kashmir situation

Authorities have meanwhile brought under curfew more areas in South Kashmir.

Zeenews Bureau

Srinagar: As the Kashmir Valley continues to remain tense with violence spreading, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a high-level meeting on Wednesday to review the deteriorating situation.

The meeting, which began at 5.00 pm, is reviewing the situation as well as deliberate on measures to bring it under control.

The meeting will be attended by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Defence Minister AK Antony, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and officials from security agencies.

Chidambaram is expected to brief the meeting on his discussions with J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The meeting is expected to take note of intelligence reports suggesting that certain elements from Pakistan were trying to foment trouble in the Valley.

Earlier in the day, Chidambaram appealed to parents in the state to ensure their children stay at home in curfew-bound areas.

Chidambaram’s appeal comes in the wake of several deaths reported during clashes between mobs and security forces over the past few days in the Valley. Most of the dead were teenagers.

Meanwhile, Jammu-based association of oil tankers has refused to ply their vehicles in the Kashmir Valley and Leh, fearing safety.

Nearly 35 tankers have been damaged by protesters in the Valley so far in the latest series of violence. The association has demanded security for their drivers, saying only then the tankers will ply to violence-affected areas.

Fresh clashes

Police today fired teargas shells to disperse stone-pelting mobs at a few places in
Srinagar even as more violence-hit areas were brought under
curfew in South Kashmir, where three youths have been killed
in alleged CRPF firing.

Protestors, including women, took to the streets at
Natipora and Batmaloo areas here and staged demonstrations
against the killings that have rocked the Valley for the past
few days, police said.

Police and paramilitary forces, which have been
deployed in strength to maintain law and order, lobbed teargas
shells to disperse the demonstrators at Natipora and Batmaloo
in central Srinagar.

Police said there were no reports of any casualty in
the clashes during which protestors indulged in pelting stones
at security personnel.

However, locals alleged that several persons were
beaten up ruthlessly by the CRPF personnel.

Curfew was clamped in Bijbehara, Mattan, Dooru,
Kokernag, Achhabal, Pahalgam in Anantnag district and Kulgam
district this morning. Efforts were on to enforce the curfew
in Sopore, Baramulla and Anantnag and seven police station
areas of Srinagar, police said.

Additional contingents of paramilitary and police
units have been deployed to ensure effective enforcement of
curfew, they said.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had yesterday made an
appeal for peace and vowed to ensure return of normalcy soon.

Slamming anti-national and vested interests for
instigating violence, he had said that "wherever curfew has
been imposed it will be enforced strictly. The cycle of
violence has to stop".

Three persons were killed and two others injured as
CRPF personnel allegedly opened fire at a group of stone
pelting protestors in Anantnag, 55 kms from here, yesterday.

However, locals alleged that CRPF personnel barged
into houses and shops while chasing the stone pelting
protestors and shot the victims from a close range inside a
house and a bakery shop.

While two persons died on the spot, the third
succumbed on way to hospital, the police said.

The protestors went on the rampage after the incident
and set ablaze three ambulances, three state road transport
corporation trucks and a police post resulting in injuries to
30 others including ten policemen.

Stone pelting was reported from KP Chowk, Dangerpora,
Lazibal, Mattan Chowk and several other places of Anantnag
district, the spokesman said.

With the killing of three more teenagers in Anantnag,
the number of youth who have died in firing allegedly by
security forces during the past six days has gone up to eight.

A total of 11 people have been killed in firing
incidents involving security forces in the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the J&K Public Service Commission has
announced postponement of examinations scheduled today and on
July 1 and 2.

Life continues to remain disrupted in Srinagar city
and other parts of the Valley in response to a strike called
by separatists.

Shops and business markets, government offices and
educational institutions were closed and transport was off the
roads, officials said.

While most of the leaders and activists of hardline
faction of Hurriyat, including its chairman Syed Ali Shah
Geelani, have been arrested, the moderate faction of Hurriyat
leaders have been placed under house arrest since June 28.

(With PTI inputs)

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