Srinagar: Curfew was lifted from most parts of the tense Kashmir Valley on Tuesday, bringing much-needed respite to people 17 long days after it was imposed amid the worst unrest in years.
But fresh protests erupted in parts of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and in south Kashmir despite continued restrictions on public gatherings.
Barring a few volatile places in south Kashmir, curfew was lifted from almost all over the valley, a police spokesman said here.
However, restrictions on the assembly of four or more people continued in a bid to maintain law and order, the spokesman said.
Protests broke out in Malaknag area in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district in which six persons, including a woman, received pellet injuries in firing by security forces.
The curfew is likely to be imposed again on Wednesday amid fears of violence as separatists have called for a protest march to south Kashmir’s Kulgam district — one of the worst hit areas in the current turmoil — where they plan to address a public rally.
In Srinagar, as soon as the curfew was eased, people took to the streets shouting anti-India and pro-freedom slogans.
Incidents of stone-pelting protests also erupted at some places, including near the city centre Lal Chowk.
“Some demonstrators received minor injuries as police foiled their march by using tear gas and pellets,” the police spokesman said.
In some areas of old Srinagar, the protesters offered mid-day prayers on the roadside and pavements to defy restrictions on public gatherings.
Police were deployed in large numbers.
The worshippers shouted slogans and flashed anti-government and pro-freedom placards at the police who kept a peaceful watch. The protesters then dispersed without causing any major trouble.
Separatists also eased their shutdown call from 2 p.m. on Tuesday. But most shops remained closed. The public transport was also restricted.
Some grocery shops that had partially opened witnessed a huge rush as people went on a shopping frenzy to stock essentials.
The separatists have extended their shutdown call for three more days from Wednesday morning.
The Kashmir Valley has been on the edge since the July 8 killing of rebel commander Burhan Wani by security forces in south Kashmir. The curfew was imposed a day after as a precaution.
But that did not prevent violent clashes between protesters and the security forces in which nearly 50 people have been killed and thousands injured.
Mobile telephone, cellular internet and train services remain suspended on the 18th day while schools, colleges and other educational institutes were also closed on Tuesday.