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Tuesday Aug 20 2019
Web Desk

Curfew, communication blockade enters 16th day in occupied Kashmir

Web Desk

SRINAGAR: Curfew and lockdown situation continued in Indian occupied Kashmir for a 16th consecutive day on Tuesday, following the Indian government’s abolition of the special status of the occupied valley.

In Srinagar, thousands of troops and policemen continue to patrol the deserted streets, lanes to thwart any attempt by residents to stage anti-India demonstrations.

As a result of the strict curfew and communication blockade, a humanitarian crisis is fast unfolding as residents of occupied Kashmir face severe shortages of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines.

Almost all Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, continue to remain under house arrest or in jails.

Some 120,000 extra soldiers have been deployed, a security source told AFP, joining around 500,000 already in the northern Himalayan region.

At least 4,000 people have also been detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA), which allows imprisonment for up to two years without charge or trial, government sources said.

"Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity," a local magistrate told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Schools remained deserted on Monday, following weekend clashes in Srinagar, two-weeks after removed the restive region's autonomy and imposed a lockdown.

Some teachers and administrative staff made it to schools but many others didn't. Only a handful of children had come.

Many schools stayed shut, with guards at the gate turning away any teachers or administrative staff who turned up.

"I don't think parents will send their children to school if they can't communicate and check on them whenever required," a resident of the Rajbagh area of Srinagar told AFP outside the Presentation Convent School.

"I came here after watching the news yesterday but it doesn't look like any students have come to school today. There are many other teachers who stay farther away and haven't made it here," one of the teachers at a local school told AFP. 

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