Two people were killed and several others injured during clashes with security forces in Kashmir, as all 10 districts in the Valley observe Eid under a strict curfew for the first time since independence.
A man was killed in firing as protesters clashed with security forces on Tuesday morning in Bandipore, less than 70 km from Jammu and Kashmir capital Srinagar. Another person was killed in clashes in Shopian. The death toll in violent clashes in the state since July is now 81.
Protesters have defied restrictions in many places, taking out demonstrations. Several people have been injured in clashes with security forces across the valley.For the first time, Eid prayers today are not being held at the famous Hazratbal Shrine in Srinagar. People have been asked to offer prayers at local mosques.
Usually bustling with festivity on Eid, Srinagar’s marketplaces are deserted today, with bakeries and sweet shops closed. Shepherds who waited the whole year to sell sheep and goats for the Eid sacrifice said there were no customers.
“In my life of 70 years, I have never seen such a situation when you are facing curbs on Eid day. This is the most sacred day for us and on this day such helplessness, desperation and restrictions,” said Zarief Ahmad Zarief, a noted Kashmiri poet and social activist.
The decision to impose restrictions on the assembly of a large number of people was taken amid fears of fresh violence and a call by separatists for a march on Eid to the local offices of the United Nations, official sources said.
The separatists have also called on protesters to block a national highway in the Valley.
Eighty-one people have been killed and more than 10,000 injured in clashes between security forces and protesters that have raged across Kashmir since Burhan Wani, a 22-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist, was killed on July 8.
The Army is on standby today and soldiers have been stationed at vantage points in rural areas which have a history of violent protests. Helicopters and drones have been deployed to spot trouble and give an early warning to security forces in case people gather.
Internet services have been shut down as has all mobile telephony except that of the state-run BSNL for the next 72 hours.
“The PDP always loves to compare the situation with 2010 agitation but never ever has there been a curfew on auspicious occasion like Eid before,” said a spokesman of former chief minister Omar Abdullah’s National Conference.