Curfew, restrictions continue in Kashmir

Srinagar: Curfew and restrictions continued for the 58th day across Kashmir on Saturday, as the death toll rose to 72 in the ongoing unrest. Militants killed a police constable identified as Khurshid Ahmad Ganai in Koil village of Pulwama district on Saturday morning when he was leaving for duty. The body of another youth who had jumped into the Jhelum river at Sangam in Anantnag district on Friday was fished out on Saturday morning. A large number of mourners have now blocked the Jammu-Srinagar national highway squatting on the highway with his body. A 22-year-old youth was killed in Haal village of Pulwama district on Friday in clashes with security forces. Over 11,000 people including 7,000 civilians and 4,000 security personnels have been injured in the ongoing cycle of violence that started on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces in a gunfight. Police said curfew will continue on Saturday in parts of Srinagar city, Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian, Palhalan and Avantipura towns. "Restriction under section 144 of CrPC will remain in force in the rest of the valley," a senior police officer said. Separatist leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were arrested on Friday when they defied house arrest and came out to join the separatist-called march in the city which was foiled by the security forces. All education institutes, shops, transport and other businesses remain suspended. Markets have been functioning in the interior of Srinagar and other cities and towns for a few hours daily so that people can buy the essentials.