On Friday, a week after the popular Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with the security forces in South Kashmir, the authorities imposed a curfew in all 10 districts of Kashmir, fearing an escalation of violence after the weekly prayers. There were almost no people or vehicles on the streets.
After more than two decades of unrest, the Valley has developed a unique vocabulary to describe the many shades of curtailments it faces, both from the state and from separatists. Here is a glossary.
Curfew is actually a state of variable intensity. It could be relaxed, with people in the inner lanes attempting to go about their routines, kids playing in the streets since there are no vehicles going by and some shops selling goodes from the back door. At other times, it could mean that even opening windows is not allowed. The rigidity of the curfew depends on the frequency and nature of disturbances in a particular area. Downtown Sringar usually sees the harshest curfews, though a few kilometres away, the posh areas of Rajbagh and Jawahar Nagar usually see less-strict curfews.
Calendar A schedule issued by separatists detailing protest activities for the week. These had included days of dheel (see below) and in some calendars specified when shopping would be allowed.
Chalo A call, usually by separatists, to proceed towards a place of significance, where in the recent days an event of state highhandedness or a killing had taken place.
Civil curfew These are called by separatists, urging citizens to stay home.
Dheel Relaxation. The day of relief in between extended periods of curfew and agitation.
e-Curfew When internet services to the Valley are cut off in times of turmoil.
Restrictions The curtailment of movement in Srinagar’s “seven police stations” – the volatile seven police station downtown areas.
Over the years, Kashmir has faced such prohibitions far too many times to remember. In times of curfew, daily life becomes a ritual like Ramzan – activity tends to cease between morning and late evening. But there's nothing uplifting about it.
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