SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday deployed Border Security Force (BSF) personnel in strife-hit Kashmir, where curfew, restrictions and shutdown remained in force for 45th consecutive day.
The BSF personnel were deployed in city centre Srinagar this morning to maintain law and order and foil protests by people.
The BSF men armed with sophisticated weapons maintained tight vigil from Regal Chowk to Ghanta Ghar area and adjoining areas in city centre to enforce curfew and restrictions.
Thousands of paramilitary CRPF and SSB personnel are already assisting J&K police to maintain law and order in the Valley and foil protests.
It was after 12 years that BSF men were deployed in Srinagar.
The BSF men were pulled out from Kashmir in 2004 and replaced by CRPF. The BSF men were engaged in anti-militancy operations in Valley from 1991 to 2004.
A police official said curfew and restrictions remained in force in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley to prevent people from taking to roads and staging demonstrations.
He said the security deployment was further beefed today in volatile downtown Srinagar after a youth Irfan Ahmad was hit by a tear gas shell fired by security personnel in Nowhatta area of downtown yesterday evening.
The restrictions were eased in the forenoon.
A police spokesman said curfew was relaxed in some areas of Srinagar from 9 am to 5 pm. “During the relaxation hours, no untoward incident was reported”.
The Valley has been witnessing curfew, restrictions and shutdown since July 9, a day after killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in South Kashmir.
Burhan’s killing triggered unrest in the Valley and 68 people including two policemen have been killing and thousands others injured in cycle of violence in last 45 days in the Valley.
Defying curfew and restrictions, youth in Fateh Kadal area of downtown Srinagar today took to roads and pelted stones on the police and CRPF men. The cops fired tear smoke shells to disperse them and clashes between two sides continued for some time.
Clashes broke out between youth and cops at Salia village in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. “During the clashes, the security personnel ransacked a Gurudwara and some residential houses,” locals said.
They said both Muslims and Sikhs protested against ransacking of the Gurudwara and staged massive protest demonstrations.
Massive clashes were reported between youth and cops at Ganawpora village of South Kashmir’s Shopian district. Many people were injured in the clashes.
Clashes between youth and cops were also reported from many other parts of Valley. During the clashes, cops fired tear gas shells and pellets on the protestors, who pelted stones on them. Many protestors were injured in the clashes.
A police spokesman said five incidents of stone pelting were reported from Valley today.
“Barring these incidents, situation across the valley remained under control and no other untoward incident was reported”.
He said the movement of traffic on Srinagar-Jammu national highway and other roads remained normal.
Meanwhile, the truckers and oil tankers, who had gone on indefinite strike from Saturday last, called off their strike after meeting J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today.
The oil tankers and truckers had gone on strike since Saturday alleging mob attacks on oil tanker and trucks during ongoing unrest in Kashmir.
“A joint delegation of Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), Jammu Transporters Union and Oil Tanker Owners Association called on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Jammu today to discuss various issues confronting them in view of the prevailing disturbances in Kashmir,” an official spokesman said.
He said responding to security concerns raised by Oil Tankers Association, CM assured them of adequate security and asked them to immediately resume fuel supplies to Valley.
“Following the assurance by Mehbooba, the Oil Tanker Owners Association decided to call off the strike and resume fuel supplies to Valley from Tuesday,” the spokesman said.
He said Oil Tanker Owners Association was told that the state Government would provide them special helpline numbers so that they can immediately get in touch with the authorities in case of any emergency.