Kashmir II: The last Month

23 Jul

In my last blog post, I had summarised the main events in Jammu and Kashmir’s past history to try and give a context to the post I am writing today.  I encapsulate the main events which have taken place within Jammu and Kashmir within the last month or so.  In doing this, I have also relied a lot on local English-language newspapers in Kashmir.  For brevity’s sake, rather than try and tell a story, I am giving a timeline of events collated through newspaper reports:

March 2010: Omar Abdullah stated that more than 35,000 troops have been reduced from J& K over the past 15 months.  He and his party were of the view that an improvement in the security situation necessitates reduction of troops in the Valley.  Abdullah promised that there would be a further decline in the number of troops.  “With the gradual restoration of peace and tranquility, the footprints of the security forces in the state would lessen.”

July 2010: Protests break out in Kashmir over the killing of protesters during clashes with security forces.  A curfew was clamped and the army moved in to assist the civil administration in maintaining law and order.

The valley is witnessing a complete shutdown against the killings on the call by the Hurriyat Conference (G) to protest against the killings. Most of the government and private offices, educational institutions and shops are completely shut and traffic is off the roads. (Click here for source)

July 10, 2010: Farooq Abdullah (CM Omar Abdullah’s father) met Home Minister P Chidambaram and discussed the prevailing situation in Kashmir.  Both believe that terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayiba has played a role in instigating violence in the valley.

July 17, 2010: Omar Abdullah met P. Chidambaram to discuss the violence in Kashmir.  About 14 civillians have been killed in the unrest.

July 22, 2010: An undeclared curfew in some areas and general strike in rest of Kashmir affected normal life.  Restrictions were imposed by the authorities in all the district headquarters and other townships of south Kashmir to scuttle any effort by the people to come out of their houses and stage protest demonstrations. However, amid restrictions and rains people in Shopian took to roads and staged protests. Police resorted to heavy tear gassing and aerial firing to quell the protesting people triggering clashes. Police arrested nearly half-a-dozen youth after the clashes.

Contingents of police and para-military CRPF personnel were deployed in the streets of all the district headquarters like  Anantnag, Pulwama , Kulgam and Shopian and other townships of the region. Though in most areas of the region heavy rains prevented the people from staging sit-ins on the roads but in some areas, but in Shopian, braving the rainfall, people took to roads after afternoon prayers and staged pro-freedom protests.

The National Conference had a seven hour long working committee meeting which concluded with a demand for the release of Kashmiri political detenues and restoration of greater autonomy.

“It has been our consistent stand. If you remember, the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, told a rally during inauguration of the rail service by Prime Minister in Islamabad that Kashmir is a political problem and needs to be solved politically. The CWC resolved that restoration of the autonomy in its pristine form as guaranteed under Constitution of India is the only way to bring peace.”

July 23, 2010: Authorities on Friday imposed curfew in this north Kashmir town to prevent people from coming out and staging demonstrations.

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