Army Called In To Maintain Law And Order In Srinagar6 July 2010
Srinagar: With a worsening law and order situation in the Kashmir valley, the Army has been called in to contain the unrest in the state. The Army is now out on the streets of Srinagar to supplement patrolling by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the police. It will also assist civil authorities in enforcing curfew in Srinagar, but will avoid downtown Srinagar and densely populated areas of city. The decision to deploy the Army was taken after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's government made a formal request for its help in maintaining law and order after fresh violence in Srinagar. An overnight order after consultations between the state government and the Centre cleared the use of the Army. Sources had earlier told NDTV that the Army had some reservations and it wanted clarity on terms of engagement like on the right to fire if it is attacked. Sources also said that the Army was reluctant to be used in downtown Srinagar and other dense pockets. The Central government too was worried about the political impact of using the Army in the volatile Valley, sources had added. In the last 24 hours, violence erupted in Srinagar resulting in four more civilian killings in clashes with security forces. Tuesday began with protests against one death. Those led to a second death and then suddenly, Srinagar was back under curfew. The cycle of violence had spun out of control all over again. On Monday, Muzaffar Ahmad, a class 11 student disappeared. Local residents said his death was caused by the security forces. The police said he fell and drowned when they were chasing a group of stone-throwers. The anger spilled on to the streets and there was another casualty - 18-year-old Fayaz Ahmed died in Tengpura as protesters clashed with security personnel. The security forces were adamant that there had been no firing from their end. And then, a young 25-year-old woman, Fancy, who was simply looking down at the chaos that had enveloped her city from the window of her home, was killed. The police said this was an accident. That security forces had fired in the air to disperse a crowd pelting them with stones near Fancy's house and a stray bullet hit her. The J&K Police issued a statement saying, 'While dealing with very heavy pelting by protesters at Lachmanpora, Batmaloo, security forces fired in the air. A stray bullet hit a girl who was watching from the window of her house. She was taken to hospital where she was declared brought dead.' As protests grew louder and violence spread to other parts of the city, another 18-year-old boy was killed after clashes in the separatist neighbourhood of Maisuma. Blamed for 15 civilian deaths over the last three weeks, the CRPF and the police have said they are being inaccurately faulted for today's killings. Top sources in the CRPF, in fact, say that their personnel have shown restraint in the Valley. Ironically, the fresh violence erupted on a day when Omar Abdullah tried to reach out to his people as part of his political intervention to deal with the crisis. He was in Anantnag, in south Kashmir, which saw some of the worst violence last week.