Curfew imposed in Kashmir Valley ahead of anti-Israeli protests

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 07:40 hrs

Authorities in the Kashmir Valley have imposed a curfew, as the hardline faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference called for a mass protest in the valley on Friday against the killing of Palestinian people in Israel's aerial attacks across the Gaza Strip

Markets and streets in Srinagar were deserted, as security forces patrolled the streets to avoid any untoward incidents.

Geelani called for supporters to stage protests after the Friday prayers.

Local residents said the curfew was not officially declared in advance.

"When I left from my house for college, I was told by the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) personnel that because of the shutdown, there is a restriction on locals to come out of their houses. Later on, we also read in the newspaper that Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a shutdown after the prayers over the atrocities on Muslims in Palestine," said Asim Imtiyaz, a local.

Local reports said the authorities feared that Muharram procession of Shi'ites (period of mourning) may turn into anti-Israel protests.

A ceasefire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers took hold on Thursday after eight days of conflict, although deep mistrust on both sides cast doubt on how long the Egyptian-sponsored deal can last.

The deal prevented, at least for the moment, an Israeli ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave following bombing and rocket fire, which killed five Israelis and 162 Gazans, including 37 children.

If it holds, the truce will give 1.7 million Gazans respite from days of ferocious air strikes and halt rocket salvoes from militants that have unnerved a million people in southern Israel and reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time.

Hamas lost its top military commander to an Israeli strike in the conflict and suffered serious hits to its infrastructure and weaponry, but has emerged with its reputation both in the Arab world and at home stronger.

Israel, the United States and the European Union all classify Hamas as a terrorist organisation. It seized the Gaza Strip from the Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007 in a brief but bloody war with his Fatah movement. (ANI)

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