All-party visit to Kashmir likely to be exercise in futility

All-party visit to Kashmir likely to be exercise in futility

By NOOR-UL-QAMRAIN | Srinagar | 4 September, 2016
Friday saw more than 132 incidents of violent clashes between security forces and protesters in which over 500 people were wounded.

Fresh violence has broken out in various parts of Kashmir including on the road to the Srinagar airport, even as the Jammu and Kashmir government re-imposed curfew in the entire valley on the 57th day of the unrest. The curfew had been lifted for only 48 hours. A multi-party delegation headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Kashmir on Sunday, but there is little hope of any breakthrough as the Hurriyat, among others, has decided not to meet the delegation, which according to them, “does not have the mandate to resolve the Kashmir dispute”. Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in a statement on Friday said, “The Parliamentary delegation is coming to Kashmir after passing a resolution that Kashmir is an integral part of India. Therefore this delegation neither has any mandate nor any intention to resolve the dispute and bring people of Kashmir out of death and destruction.” He said that the delegates should hold a special session of Parliament where they should accept the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir to clear the decks for a referendum.

During the intervening night of Friday-Saturday, the police and the security forces arrested more than 400 youth including their relatives at various places, triggering nocturnal protests.

On Saturday morning, violent clashes broke out in various parts of Kashmir and by noon more than dozen youth had been referred to the SMHS hospital of Srinagar with pellet injuries. In the past few days according to the local media reports and doctors who interacted with the injured pellet victims, CRPF was using pellet guns as the first option and not in rare cases as claimed by the government. Friday saw more than 132 incidents of violent clashes between security forces and protesters in which more than 500 people were wounded including dozens of women and minors.

Rallies were held across Kashmir on Friday, in which thousands of people defied curfew, especially in Anantnag, Kulgam in south Kashmir and in many parts of Srinagar and central Kashmir.

Srinagar was engulfed in violence when the body of a twelve-year-old identified as Danish Sultan was fished out of Jhelum river. His family members alleged that he was chased by the security forces during a clash and jumped into the river. Thousands of people attended his funeral procession, triggering clashes in the city. The valley is sliding into virtual anarchy, with no trace of government on the ground. Areas in rural Kashmir are like “liberated zones”, with protesters digging up the link roads with machines, making it impossible for the security vehicles to enter such areas.

Normal life has been badly hit, with government offices showing minimal attendance. The government has closed all educational institutions. All pre-paid mobile services and internet services stand suspended. Only post-paid mobile services and BSNL broadband internet is available in select areas.

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