SRINAGAR — A curfew in riot-hit parts of Indian-controlled Kashmir continues, with police and India’s paramilitary troopers enforcing severe restrictions to control the situation and prevent further clashes, officials said yesterday. The curfew in Kishtwar district (the place where clashes erupted first) yesterdayy entered the fourth day. Kishtwar is 284 km south of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir. However, in other eight districts of Jammu division curfew is in place since Sunday to prevent incidents of arson and vandalism.
The local government has sought help from the Indian army to assist them in containing the situation. “Restrictions in these districts will remain in force until situation improves,” said a senior government official. “We are constantly monitoring the situation.”
According to India’s official broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) , army and police are staging flag-marches and strictly enforcing the restrictions in the curfew bound areas. The violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups so far has claimed three lives, besides injuring more than 20 others and resulted in damage to property, officials said.
The authorities in Jammu division have ordered closure of schools, colleges and other educational institutions in wake of the violence and to prevent its flare-up. Mobile Internet services across Indian-controlled Kashmir have been blocked to prevent rumor mongering.
According to locals, the clashes triggered after some people from Hindu community Friday jeered and threw stones at the procession of Muslims shouting anti-India slogans and marching to attend Eid-ul-Fitr prayers. The standoff triggered clashes between the members of two communities who later on attacked each other with firearms, stones and batons, besides setting ablaze several vehicles and shops. The Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of holy month of Ramadan.
The local government has ordered a high-level inquiry into the communal violence in Kishtwar. It has attached the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police and posted new officers to control the situation.
Meanwhile, life in Muslim majority districts of the region including Srinagar city yesterday returned to normal across the region. The markets and schools opened up and work in offices resumed. Traffic on the roads was seen plying normally.
Indian-controlled Kashmir is a Muslim majority region. However, in Kishtwar district the population of Hindus and Muslims is said to be in equal proportion. — Xinhua
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