By Muddasir Ali
Srinagar, J&K, India, (Greater Kashmir): Situation in curfew bound villages of central Kashmir’s Budgam district hit by group clashes continued to remain tense but under control on Thursday while authorities decided against easing the restrictions till normalcy returns.
Sources said army continued to carry out flag marches in scores of villages worst hit by the clashes while as Police and CRPF were out on roads in many other villages to ensure there was no untoward incident. They said at least 28 villages which were worst hit by clashes have been handed over to Army and another 52 villages were under the joint control of the police, CRPF, BSF, ITBP and IRP. Officials said though the situation today remained “comparatively calm” but the authorities would not take the risk of lifting the curfew till the situation returns to normal completely.
“We don’t want to take any chance particularly in view of the Friday tomorrow,” said an official from the district administration.
Following the eruption of clashes, the authorities rushed 15 companies of CRPF, six companies of IRP, four companies of ITBP and one company of BSF and several columns of Army and Rashtriya Rifles from 10th and 12th sector to Budgam to restore situation in the trouble-torn villages.
“Police has also rushed its manpower from District Armed Reserve to assist in restoring the situation. Besides 17 DSPs and two SPs were also called from outside to help control the situation,” sources said.
The situation erupted in scores of villages of the district including Sabdan, Galwanpora and Reshipora last week following which authorities imposed curfew to restore normalcy. Sources said at least a dozen houses were set on fire, resulting in extensive damage to the structures, but there was no report of any casualty.
Announcements are being continuously made through public address systems asking people not to pay heed to rumors being spread by vested interests.
However people from different villages told Greater Kashmir that forces were not allowing them to move out even to buy essentials from markets or go for prayers to mosques.
Separatists as well as mainstream parties, including ruling National Conference and opposition PDP, have condemned the clashes and appealed people to maintain calm.
Deputy Commissioner Budgam Khursheed Ahmad Shah said the situation remained “peaceful” today and the administration distributed relief among the needy people.
“We are hopeful that normalcy will return in a few days,” he said. Meanwhile, on the instructions of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Divisional Commissioner’s office through Red Cross provided aid and assistance to the affected people. Apart from distributing blankets, kitchenware sets and clothes among needy,
Rs 5000 each were given to the 52 victims from Sofipora, Shahpora and Allahpora by the regional Red Cross society as a gesture of assistance.