Kashmir On The Edge, Omar Appeals For Peace29 June 2010
Srinagar: Violence continues in the Valley for the fourth straight day even as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has come out in defence of his government and claims that the protests are being carried out by vested interests. At the same time he has asked both security forces and citizens to show utmost restraint while curfew has been extended to several other areas. The Chief Minister made an emotional appeal for peace, asking parents to stop their children from throwing stones at security forces. He also appealed to all political parties to set aside political differences to bring back normalcy. 'With folded hands, I appeal to all the parents to counsel their children, to ensure that their children do not come out and engagesecurity forces in stone pelting,' Abdullah told a news conference as violence spread to the southern region of the Valley where three fresh killings sparked more street protests Tuesday. Abdullah denied that the protests were spontaneous or 'because the people were angry with his governance'. 'This is a battle of wits, battle of ideas, battle of ideologies, in which various anti-national forces and vested interests have come together to create trouble,' he said. The chief minister said it was 'extremely unfortunate that emotional and vulnerable youth are being exploited by these very forces and are being brought about to the forefront resulting in the tragic consequences'. At least 11 people, mostly young boys, have been killed in clashes with police and security forces in the last 15 days. The cycle of violence refuses to die down even as the government clamped curfew in southern, northern and central parts of the Valley. The Anatnag violence could cast a shadow on the Amarnath yatra which is scheduled to begin on July 1. In the last 48 hours, six civilians have been killed. The violence has spread to the southern region leaving one person injured in firing by security forces while curfew was clamped in many parts to quell angry protests over eight civilian killings. Stone pelting mobs took to streets at many places in the summer capital of Srinagar as protesters and police clashed in south Kashmir's Anantnag and Pulwama districts. 'The injured person has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment,' a police officer said in Anantnag town. Clashes also erupted in Kakpora town and Pinglina village of Pulwama district. 'Security forces have been instructed to use minimum force to quell the protests. We have used batons and tear smoke shells to control protests in the area,'a police officer said in Pulwama. Stone pelters took to the streets in Nowpora, Lawaipora, Zaldagar, Shalteng, Fruit Mandi and Bemina areas of Srinagar city. Protests have also been reported from Baramulla town, but authorities said these were much subdued as compared to the violence in north Kashmir on Monday.