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Glossary

What is an undeclared curfew

Undeclared curfew is a curfew by all means imposed without official announcement of a curfew.

The practice was started in Indian administered Kashmir in 2008 by Governor Narandra Nath Vohra, when the region was in the grip of huge agitations and processions stirred by Amarnath land row.

Vohra had taken over as the administrator after the civilian government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad fell to the protests.

The protests stirred by the land row (opposition of transfer of land to Shir Amarnath Shrine Board) soon grew into some of the largest anti-India and pro-freedom demonstrations.

Though the processions were largely peaceful (After initial violent ones when police tried to break them) with volunteers hindering any clashes with police, the large demonstrations of people demanding freedom turned international attention towards Kashmir.

Soon after the phenomenon of undeclared curfews were started.

Without any official announcement of a curfew, police and paramilitary would be deployed across streets and beat up anyone who ventured out.

The 2008 curfews (undeclared) were among some of longest and the most brute ones since early 90ís, where media and essential services were badly affected too.

Paramilitary men also beat up hospital staff, ambulance drivers and stopped patients, including pregnant women, from reaching hospitals.

Newspapers from Srinagar failed to come out in the restrictions

The curfews broke the back of demonstrations.

Undeclared curfews have since been frequently clamped, mostly pre emptive, in selective localities where authorities sense trouble.

These are sometimes declared in the garb of Section 144, that restricts assembly of more than three people.

The poll days of 2008 state elections, and 2009 Indian general elections were marked by undeclared curfews across Kashmir Valley.

Many calls for marches or shutdowns by separatist leaders were met by undeclared curfews.

The civilian government headed by Omar Abdullah took charge in January 2009, but many of the policing practises, including undeclared curfew and shooting stone pelting protestors continued.

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