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Curfew continues, Valley tense

Posted on Feb 10, 09:20PM | IANS

Srinagar, Feb 10 : Curfew continued without relaxation for the second day Sunday in all ten district headquarters of the Valley and some other places in the state.

Police said curfew restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (pertaining to power to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger) had been imposed here to maintain law and order in the wake of Afzal Guru's hanging in Tihar jail Saturday.

District magistrate Srinagar has, however, made it clear that there would be no restrictions on the movement of medical staff and those connected with other essential services, whose identity cards should be treated as curfew passes by security forces.

High tension continued in the Valley Sunday although no major incident of violence occurred Saturday, as authorities had moved in promptly with massive deployments of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel to enforce restrictions.

As a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of wild rumours, authorities have asked cable operators in summer capital Srinagar to suspend operations.

Reports from other major towns of the Valley, however, indicate that cable television operations continue there.

Afzal Guru's family said it had not been informed of the date when he would be hanged. Guru was convicted of plotting the Dec 13, 2001 attack on the Indian parliament and sentenced to death 2002.

Aijaz Guru, Afzal's brother, told reporters Saturday that the family had not received any letter or information from the government about Afzal's hanging, and only learnt of it from reports on TV.

Aijaz said the government of India must return the body of his brother so that he is given a proper and decent burial in his ancestral village.

"We have written a letter to district magistrate Baramulla seeking the state government's help to get Afzal's body", Aijaz said.

Hundreds of locals gathered in Afzal's ancestral Doabgah village near Sopore town Saturday to offer 'Gaibana Nimaz-e-Jinaza' (Funeral prayers in absentia).

Separatist Hurriyat groups headed by moderate leader, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and hardliner Syed Ali Geelani have called for four days' mourning and shutdown in the Valley.

According to sources close to them, both Geelani and Mirwaiz have been placed under house arrest at their lodgings in New Delhi.

State chief minister, Omar Abdullah has asked people to control their sentiments and not play into the hands of those who want to exploit the situation for political ends.

The chief minister has been camping in summer capital Srinagar along with state director general of police (DGP) Ashok Prasad to supervise the law and order situation.

"Police and CRPF have been instructed to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with the situation", Omar Abdullah told reporters here, requesting the media to cross check facts before reporting them in order to avoid spread of rumours and unverified news reports.

For the second day Sunday internet connectivity by various service providers remained suspended although broadband facility by BSNL remained operational in parts of Srinagar city and some other places outside the summer capital.

There has been no official word about suspension of Internet connectivity, but subscribers using mobile phones and dongle appliances to access the Internet are presently unable to get through in the Valley.