NATIONAL

Curfew relaxed in J&K

NEW DELHI NOV 9. Bowing to the changed environment in the State after the elections, the Army has somewhat relaxed the curbs on movement of the people in Kashmir during the current month of Ramadan.

Night curfew beginning from dusk will henceforth be enforced from 10 p.m. People can go to mosques after 3.30 a.m. Earlier, the curbs were in place till dawn. Sources said the relaxation was of a restricted variety. People will be allowed to move between villages and visit mosques up to 10 p.m., but there would be no slackening of the counter-insurgency operations. "We will continue to carry out search operations based on specific information," officials said.

Shujaat Bukhari reports from Srinagar:

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Srinagar-based 15 Corps, Lt. Gen. V. G. Patankar, said " they had stopped search operations in general as also frisking of civilians."

Asked whether the Army would announce a ceasefire against the militants, he said, " in this regard the decision has to be taken by the Centre".

The Lashkar-e-Taiba, meanwhile has condemned the killing of policemen at the hands of unknown militants. In a statement to local news agency, CNS, the LeT spokesman, Abu Huzaifa, said that "policemen are our brethren and their killers cannot be Mujahideen".

He said that in the killing of policemen in the Lal Chowk area "people of various Indian intelligence agencies are involved". These attacks were aimed at instigating policemen against militants, he alleged.

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