Army Enters Kashmir’s 4 Worst Protest-Hit Districts

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Jammu: For the first time since 2014, the Army on Friday took up positions in rural areas of four trouble-tossed South Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag, which witnessed the bulk of violence in the last two months, accounting for more than 50 of the 70 deaths.

Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag reviewed the security situation in the four worst-affected districts, asking jawans to remain vigilant towards the needs of the administration seeking to regain order after weeks of violence and protests that have left thousands of people and security personnel wounded.

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Sources said authorities are contemplating clamping down on protesters and rioters across the valley with both the state and Centre, in consultation with each other, deciding on redeploying troops in rural areas from where they were removed during the last two years.

Some people, not wanting to be identified for obvious reasons, blamed the separatists and the last eight weeks of violence for redeployment of the Army.

Sources said authorities may even suspend mobile and internet services across the valley in view of the protest calendar issued by the joint resistance forces, an amalgam of separatists, over the coming days. The separatists have called for UN chalo (march) on Tuesday on Eid besides marching towards the Eidgah in downtown Srinagar.

Call for protest rallies, particularly on Eid, have made state and Central governments all too aware that there could be one more attempt at a flaring up of the situation before the current round of agitation is stamped out.

Gen Suhag also visited the LoC and units in North and South Kashmir. Accompanied by Army brass, he reviewed the security situation and collaborative measures towards ensuring peace in the region, a defence spokesman said.

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