Srinagar: Hurriyat Calls For Peaceful Protests; Curfew Continues

1 September 2008
The Times of India

Srinagar: Curfew continued across the Kashmir valley for the ninth day Monday with the Hurriyat calling for peaceful protests but authorities treading with caution following the deal to set aside 40 hectares of land for the Amarnath shrine board to use during the pilgrimage season. There were no reports of curfew relaxation from anywhere in the valley on Monday, when the joint coordination committee of both the Hurriyat groups, headed by hardline Syed Ali Geelani and the moderate wing chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, has called for peaceful protests. 'The curfew restrictions would be relaxed in a phased manner at different places, but only after careful assessment about the law and order situation by the district magistrates concerned,' a state government official said. Though Sunday had started with curfew relaxations across the Valley, authorities said on Monday they were apprehensive that the separatist call might evoke a huge response. On Sunday, curfew had to be reimposed quickly in the entire old city area of Srinagar, Kulgam, Shopian, Anantnag and Kupwara districts as violent protests broke out following the agreement between the Amarnath Sangarsh Samiti and the four-member panel of the state government regarding the 40 hectares of forest land. The agreement, which led to the situation in Jammu cooling down, has been welcomed by the regional National Conference and the Congress parties here. However, the People's Democratic Party has opposed it saying it was 'unilateral and amounted to surrender before communal forces by the administration'.