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Curfew lifted in Kashmir; PDP ignores PM's appeal

By Mukhtar Ahmad
Last updated on: July 11, 2010 19:55 IST
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After nearly a week, curfew was lifted on Sunday in the entire Kashmir Valley in view of the situation remaining generally peaceful but prohibitory orders have been imposed in Baramulla, Anantnag and Pulwama districts besides some parts of Srinagar, officials said.

The situation was generally peaceful barring a few incidents where small groups of people came out and shouted slogans and threw stones at the security forces, they said.

"Curfew has been lifted from the valley. However, there are prohibitory orders in some parts of the city as well as in some other districts," Inspector General Kashmir Region, Farooq Ahmad said.

The authorities relaxed curfew in Sopore in North Kashmir from 7 am to 11 am and later extended the relaxation period indefinitely as there was no untoward incident. Shops opened there despite a strike call given by hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Some youths came out in Maisuma and Nowhatta areas of Srinagar city, but they were chased away by the police.

Orders banning assembly of people have been enforced in Pulwama, Anantnag and Baramulla districts. Besides, downtown areas of Srinagar, Maisuma, Batamaloo and Nowhatta too are under such restrictions.

Local newspapers failed to hit the stands for the fourth day on Sunday morning despite authorities lifting restrictions on movement of mediapersons. Some media associations have alleged that adequate number of curfew passes had not been issued. Media persons had also staged a demonstration on Saturday.

Authorities continued to clamp down on the stone-pelters and picked up another 12 people including Farooq Ahmed of Narbal who was alleged to be the main instigator of violence in Sopore.

PDP won't attend Omar's all-party meet

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has decided to stay away from the all party meeting convened by the state chief minister, Omar Abdullah in Srinagar on Monday to deliberate on the situation in the Valley.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called up the PDP president on Saturday and urged her to attend the meeting.

"It was extremely kind of the prime minister to have called me. I was really touched by his concern. I don't have the words how painful it was for me to express my inability to attend the meeting," Mehbooba told media persons on Sunday afternoon.

"I told the prime minister that we need to reach out to the people. He has the stature and authority to take the initiative since the chief minister admitted to have lost the credibility among the people," she said.

Omar on Saturday personally called Mehbooba Mufti, and requested her to reconsider her party's decision not to participate in the all-party meet convened by him.

Mehbooba said the chief minister is 'on damage control exercise for his image and not bothered about the situation on the ground'.

"On the one hand, the chief minister has invited me to attend the all party meet and on the other hand he has been giving me ultimatums through TV channels like George Bush saying that if I attend the meeting then I was part of the solution and if didn't, I was part of the problem. Nothing is going to come out of the meet."

The chief minister, however, chaired a meeting of the legislators of the coalition government, a day ahead of the all-party meet.

Omar has also extended the invitation to other political parties and groups including Prof Bhim Singh, chairman, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party; Ashok Khajuria of the Bhartiya Janata Party; Ghulam Hassan Mir, president, Democratic Party Nationalist; Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, president, Communist Party of India (Marxist); and Hakim Mohammad Yaseen, president, Peoples Democratic Front (PDF).

Additional Inputs: PTI

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar