Sabzar Bhat killing: Kashmir tense, situation under control

Dialogue only after stone-pelting ends, says Amit Shah
Report by: 
28 May 2017

The situation in Kashmir remained tense but under control with authorities imposing curfew-like restrictions in most parts of the valley today, fearing that the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat would spark trouble in the state. Barring a few incidents of stone pelting in Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Sopore, the situation across the valley remained peaceful, a police spokesman said. In Pulwama, the spokesman said a group of miscreants threw stones at a CRPF camp in Tahab. Police and security forces used "maximum restraint" while dealing with the situation at these places and stone pelters were dispersed, he said. He said restrictions were imposed to maintain law and order in view of protests following the killing of Bhat and another militant in an encounter with security forces in Soimoh area of Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district yesterday. In Srinagar, restrictions were imposed in seven police station areas -- Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal, M R Gunj, Rainawari, Kralkhud and Maisuma -- as a precautionary measure. Restrictions were also been imposed in Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir and in Sopore town in north Kashmir, officials said. They said restrictions on the assembly and movement of more than four people, under CrPC Section 144, were imposed in Budgam and Ganderbal districts in central Kashmir. At least 30 people were injured in violent clashes between protesters and security forces in various parts of the valley following the killing of the two Hizbul Mujahideen militants. A civilian was also killed allegedly in cross-firing between militants and security forces during the encounter yesterday. Bhat was buried this morning at his native Ratsuna area in Tral where hundreds of people had gathered. The funeral remained peaceful, the officials said. Meanwhile, normal life elsewhere in the valley remained affected due to a two-day strike called by separatists to protest the killing of the two militants and the alleged use of "brute force" against protesters. The separatist trio -- chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF chief Yasin Malik -- also called for a march to Tral on Tuesday in protest against the killing. Malik was arrested from his residence here today, while Geelani and Mirwaiz were under house detention. Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah has ruled out dialogue on the Kashmir issue until stone-pelting ends, but insisted that the government will talk to everyone once violence ends. Asked if the government will speak to the Hurriyat (separatists) too as was done by the previous NDA government, he told PTI, "Once violence ends and an atmosphere of dialogue is created, we will talk to every one."  The Agenda of Alliance sealed by the BJP and the PDP before they formed the government in the state talks about holding dialogue with all internal stakeholders. "We have said that we will start dialogue once stone- pelting stops. As long as there is stone-pelting, there cannot be dialogue. We cannot give them flower if they pelt stones. They will have to understand it," he said. He also played down the current cycle of violence in the valley, saying the region has seen such "hot situation" in stretches of six, eight or 12 months earlier as well, before security forces controlled it."You cannot assess the situation in Kashmir by picking one stretch of six months. You will have to see the entire period from 1989 to May 2017. There have been many stretches of six months, eight months or one year when the situation has been hot before our security forces controlled it," he said. (PTI)