Strike, Curfew Like Restrictions Paralyse Life

Strike, Curfew Like Restrictions Paralyse Life

13 July 2013
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Government today foiled the separatist sponsored march to Naqashband Sahib Graveyard in old city area of Srinagar by imposing curfew like restrictions in most parts of old city and arresting and placing under house arrest senior separatist leaders. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed visited the graveyard and offered floral tributes to the martyrs under tight security cover early in the morning by travelling through deserted streets of old city. Normal life in rest of Kashmir valley was paralyzed due to separatist sponsored strike. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed in full strength at Naqashband Sahib and other parts of Old Srinagar to enforce the curfew like restrictions. Roads to the graveyard were blocked and people were asked not to venture out. Police and CRPF personnel, deployed in strength, sealed and secured the graveyard at Naqashband Sahib in downtown for the visit of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his cabinet colleagues and other top officials to pay tributes to those who were killed on July 13, 1931 outside Srinagar Central Jail. The curfew like restrictions were imposed in Khanyar, Nowhatta, Khawaja Bazar, Rainawari, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal and other neighbouring localities. Police and CPRF didn’t allow any civilian movement in these localities. Officials, however, said restrictions and prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were in place in the city to maintain peace. The Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani and Hurriyat Conference (M) had asked people to visit the graveyard for prayer meeting. Shops and other business establishments remained closed and transport was off the roads due to separatist sponsored strike. The Hurriyat Conference factions headed by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had called for a strike and march to the Graveyard. All districts in north and south Kashmir also observed a shutdown. In North Kashmir, complete strike was observed in Baramulla, Kupwara, Handwara, Sopore and Bandipora. Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads. In all districts of South Kashmir, Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag complete strike was observed. Except vehicles of Yatris no vehicle were plying on the roads here. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah accompanied by Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, Rural Development Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar, Lok Sabha member Sharief-ud-Din Shariq, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Taj Mohi din, Sajad Ahmad Kichroo, Mohammad Akbar Lone and senior police and civil officers paid floral tributes at the martyrs’ graveyard. They also offered Fateh at the graveyard. Omar, while paying tributes to the martyrs said that their sacrifice to free the society from autocracy and lay edifice for democracy and human dignity is one of the richest chapters of the history of Jammu and Kashmir. “The best way to pay homage to the martyrs is to help create equitable and palatable environment for everyone to grow and develop in a democratic atmosphere”, he added. Former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed also visited the graveyard to pay tributes. He was accompanied by senior party leaders, Tariq Hameed Qarra, Qazi Mohammad Afzal and others. While speaking to media persons at Khwaja Naqshband sahib (RA), Mufti said this certainly must not have been the dream of those who offered the ultimate sacrifice. He said it is brazen violation of democratic norms that political leaders had been imprisoned in their homes to prevent them from paying tributes. He said it was condemnable that the present Government had almost completely suspended civil liberties and fundamental right to expression. “We can’t claim to be a democracy as long as we have to resort to draconian laws and illegal methods to suppress the voices that Government of the day does not like or does not have the capacity to engage and address politically,” he said and added the Government is unable to face any occasion without resorting to force and illegal restrictions. In a statement, PCC(I) Chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz said: “13th July every year comes to people of Kashmir as a reminder that they have to draw inspiration from the martyrs of this day.” A congress delegation led by Bashir Ahmad Magray, GN Monga, Muzzafar parry, Yasir Pandit and Irfan Naqib also visited the graveyard and offered Fateh. The graveyard was kept out of bounds for the separatist leaders. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Aga Hassan, Molvi Abbas Ansari, Musroor Abbas and others continued under house arrest for second consecutive day to foil separatist march. Despite restrictions, Muslim league activists a constituent of Hurriyat Conference (G) held a protest rally from Shahidgunj towards the graveyard but it was stopped at Khankhaimola. The police burst smoke shells, resorted to lathi charge to disperse the protest. Many of the protesters were also arrested. The protesters later pelted stones towards the police and the clashes continued for more than an hour. A similar protest was held by the supporters of Hurriyat Conference (M) at Rajori Kadal area, but they were dispersed. The Hurriyat (M) also held a protest from Mirgund in city outskirts, but when the protest reached Narbal, police did not allow it to proceed. Early today a group of youth pelted stones at police near police station Khanyar. A police officer was injured in the clashes. The reports of stone pelting incidents also came from Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rajouri Kadal and various areas of Nalaimar road in old Srinagar. However, the heavy deployments of police brought the situation under control. Two persons were injured in these clashes. JKLF (H) chairman Javid Ahmad Mir, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza and various other leaders were arrested along with their supporters, when they tried to hold a protest demonstration. Awami Ittihad party president Engineer Rashid, along with his supporters was arrested near Rajbagh, when they were trying to hold a protest towards the graveyard.