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A curfew and a strike kept most children home on Tuesday in Kashmir

September 28, 2010,  Srinagar (Calcutta Tube): A curfew and a strike kept most children home on Tuesday, after the authorities ordered the reopening of schools.

The government Sunday ordered education institutions to re-open, despite a continuing curfew and a two-day strike called Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

The Geelani had asked parents not to send their children to schools on strike days.

Schools, colleges and businesses have opened intermittently as the valley continues to be under rolling curfews and crippling strikes.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the response to the government’s effort to reopen schools as “mixed”.

“Let us keep education neutral to all conflicts,” Omar said in a statement and urged parents for cooperation.

In between, two people, including a engineer, were wounded in separate incidents of violence in the Valley, where authorities on Tuesday relaxed curfew in Srinagar, Kupwara and Ganderbal districts in a phased manner.

Executive Engineer of Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) Basharat Ahmad Malik was injured when his vehicle came under stone-pelting by a group of protestors at Darish Kadal in the old city, police said.

They said Basharat, who suffered a head injury, was rushed to the SMHS hospital and after initial treatment was referred to the SKIMS hospital in Soura for specialized treatment.

A police officer told Agence India Press that another person was injured when security forces chased away a group of youth, which had gathered on the Sopore-Kupwara road at Seeloo, 65 kms from here, in Baramulla district and pelted stones at a security force vehicle.

The security forces lobbed tear gas shells and fired in the air to disperse protestors, the officer said.

Meanwhile, curfew was relaxed in east, west and south zones of Srinagar from 3.30 pm onwards, while it was eased in north and Hazratbal zones of the city from 4.30 pm, the police said.

Curfew was relaxed in a phased manner in five towns of Kupwara and Ganderbal district this morning. Curfew restrictions in Kupwara district town and adjoining Trehgam and Kralpora towns were eased from 9 am to 2 pm and later the relaxation period was extended to 4 pm, they said.

Police said the restrictions were eased in curfew-bound areas of Ganderbal district including Kangan from 11 am to 1 pm which was later extended up to 5 pm.

However, authorities have decided to lift the curfew from the Srinagar city on Wednesday.

“There will be no curfew in the Srinagar tomorrow,” the District Magistrate Meraj Ahmed Kakroo told Agence India Press on Tuesday evening.

Pertinently, Hurriyat Conference (G), spearheading the ongoing ‘Quit Kashmir Movement’ has asked people to resume normal life for one day on Wednesday.

It will be first normal day since Eid as government had been clamping curfew on the “normal days” to counter Hurriyat (G)’s protest calendar.

Meanwhile, an unidentified militant was killed in an encounter with security forces near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara, said defence spokesman.

A search party of the army confronted militants late last night at Badi Behak in Nowgam sector, 120 kms from here, triggering a gunbattle, the spokesman said.

An ultra was killed in the encounter but the identity and group affiliation of the deceased could not be ascertained.

Official sources said troops of one Naga regiment launched the search operation in the area after receiving a tip off about presence of militants, believed to have sneaked from across the LoC recently.

The body of the slain militant was handed over to police this morning, the sources said.

Some arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the deceased, they said, adding that the search operation in the area was still on. (AIPTV)

Sheikh Imran Bashir,  Agence India Press

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