KASHMIR: Curfew completes 60 days, longest ever in history

KASHMIR: Curfew completes 60 days, longest ever in history

Add to this e-curfew: Prof Noor Baba

Kashmir is witnessing longest ever curfew of history with not a single day since July 9 when there is no curfew in many or all areas of the region housing about 8 million people. 


Curfew was clamped in entire Kashmir on July 9 following violence in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district. So far 73 civilians have been killed and about 11000 injured in police, paramilitary and army action. Two cops have also died during last two months of uprising.


Kashmir in general and old Srinagar in particular had seen long spells of curfew in the past. Kashmir was shut for a month during the Hazratbal siege of 1993. In 2008 and 2010, Kashmir witnessed short spells of curfew quite often. But this time, the curfew has already stretched for months without a substantial break in most parts of Kashmir. In old Srinagar, security forces only withdraw in the night for a few hours, till dawn.


“There were 17 such days when there was no curfew in entire Kashmir,” an official of Divisional Administration told Greater Kashmir. He said except 17 days, curfew was clamped in one or the part of Kashmir after what he said deterioration of the situation. “This was done only to prevent loss of lives and damage to public properly.”


The official said that curfew was lifted across Kashmir on Aug 29. “But to avoid violence, restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibits unlawful assembly of 10 or more people, remained enforced to maintain law and order,” the official said. On next day (August 30) the official said that curfew was lifted from Kashmir, but there were restrictions in Pulwama town and the areas in Srinagar falling under the jurisdiction of police stations M R Gunj and Nowhatta.


However records suggest there hasn’t been a day when curfew was not in force. While for first 45 days entire Kashmir was under clampdown, since then certain areas like old Srinagar, Pulwama and Anantnag towns are under undeclared curfew, albeit some relaxation here and there.


Professor Noor Muhammad Baba, who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University, said, “The curfew, the hartal and protests are all unparalleled this time.” He said that earlier it used to be urban Kashmir. “Today rural Kashmir is also active.”


The senior political science teacher said that in 1984 old Srinagar was curfewed for days together. “Nowadays everything is curfewed. Communication has been curfewed too.”