Kashmir unrest: 12 days on, curfew continues; newspapers refuse to publish despite permission

Srinagar: With the curfew in the Valley dragging into its 12th day on Wednesday, life in Jammu and Kashmir continued to be in a state of paralysis even though incidents of violence between locals and the security forces show no sign of cooling down and the death toll of civilians continues to rise.

Meanwhile, owners and editors of newspapers in the Valley have refused to publish dailies, in protest against the state government’s failure to own the “ban order” that was issued three days ago.

Yesterday, Mufti had clarified to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu that no ban has been imposed on the publication of newspapers in the troubled state.

Naidu spoke to Mufti on Monday night on the issue of ban on newspapers in the state.

Mufti’s contradiction came days after government spokesman Nayeem Akhtar reportedly said that “the undesirable step was taken to ensure peace, to save lives and strengthen peace efforts”

According to reports, hawkers in the city’s centre alleged that police did not allow them to distribute the newspapers and also seized their copies.

With Pakistan observing ‘Black Day’ today over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, security measured have been stepped up as more police and paramilitary soldiers have been deployed across all towns and villages, including Srinagar to maintain law and order.

So far, at least 43 people have been killed in clashes with security forces and around 3000 remain injured.

Cellphone services and mobile internet remains blocked, also newspapers are refusing to publish.

Meanwhile, in the wake of the violent situation in the Valley spiraling out of control day-by-day, Indian Army Chief General Dalbir Singh will visit Jammu and Kashmir today to take stock of the situation.

The death toll climbed to 42 after a woman who had sustained grievous injuries at Qazigund on Monday succumbed in hospital early morning yesterday.

However, the Indian Army yesterday expressed regret over the death of civilians in Qazigund and ordered a probe in the matter.

Expressing grief over the loss of life and injuries sustained by the protesters, the Army appealed to the people of the Valley to maintain peace and refrain from attacking security forces or their vehicles or establishments, thus creating situations where they are left with no option but to retaliate in self defence.

The incidents of violence continue to crop up despite the Centre and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urging the people to maintain calm and cooperate with the state government to restore peace in the valley.