Barring minor clashes which left three people injured, Jammu and Kashmir saw little violence on Tuesday — a day after murderous violence sparked by reports of the desecration of the Holy Koran in New York led to the death of 18 people in clashes between rioters and the police.
But there is still little sign of how the Jammu and Kashmir government intends to build on the uneasy calm.
Members of the National Conference's top policy-making body met in Srinagar amid rumours — denied by the State government — that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was considering resigning after the Cabinet Committee on Security pointed to “governance deficit” in the State.
The core committee meeting, officials said, centred on strategies to push New Delhi to lift the Armed Forces (Special Forces) Act from parts of the State — a move the National Conference believes is essential to rebuild its battered legitimacy.
The Islamist-led secessionist movement has firmed up plans to step up the agitation which has led to more than 80 deaths in clashes with the police since June. Tehreek-i-Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani, whose lieutenants have spearheaded the protests , issued a fresh schedule for shutdowns and strikes until September 26.
“Work during night”
The protest calendar calls for shutdowns and protest marches on each of the 11 days, barring September 19 and September 22 — and for Kashmir residents through the night on these days. “All business establishments, including manufacturing units, flourmills and cement factories, will remain open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m.,” it states. It also allows shops, business establishments and commercial transport to “do normal business during night hours” on protest days. Police sources said they fear large-scale violence on September 21, when Mr. Geelani has called upon residents to march on security force camps.
Keywords: Kashmir violence