Curfew Like Restrictions Across Kashmir

Curfew Like Restrictions Across Kashmir

9 February 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in most parts of Kashmir Valley today to foil separatistsí plans to hold protests on the occasion of the first death anniversary of Parliament-attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru. Police vehicles fitted with public address systems made announcements in Srinagar and major towns across the Valley about the imposition of restrictions in vulnerable areas. Despite restrictions protesters clashed with police at several places in which a Magistrate was among at least a dozen of persons injured. Srinagar city and all major towns in Kashmir valley were put under curfew like restrictions to foil any attempts by separatists to protest on the occasion of first death anniversary of Guru who was hanged last year at Delhiís Tihar Jail on February 9. Police and para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were deployed in Srinagar city and major towns of the Valley to thwart any protests. The authorities imposed Section 144 of CrPC, which bans assembly of four or more persons, in Srinagar city and major towns of the Valley. Police and CRPF had erected Iron barricades on the main roads at some places and at other places they had blocked the roads with concertina wires. No movement was allowed by the security forces and people were asked to stay indoors. Despite restrictions people at Hadipora, Tragpora, Nadihal, Wadura, Seelu, Chinkipora in Sopora, Naidkhai Sumbal, Papchan, main Chowk in Bandipora, North Kashmir protested and clashed with police and CRPF. A Magistrate Fayaz Ahmad Wani 5 police personnel including an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police were injured in clashes with protesting stone pelters. However, situation was brought under control by police and CRPF by charging batons and firing tear smoke shells to disperse them. Mobile internet services, were snapped in the Valley since midnight last night as part of the precautionary measures to prevent the separatist to use social networking sites for fomenting trouble on the occasion. However, broadband connections through landline phones were functioning as usual. The curfew-like restrictions in the Valley were imposed as separatists have issued a call for a three-day shutdown till February 11, which date marks the death anniversary of JKLF founder Mohd Maqbool Bhat. Bhat was hanged and buried inside Tihar Jail 20 years ago. Authorities in a major crackdown arrested around 200 activists and several top separatist leaders ahead of Guruís death anniversary. Most separatist leaders were detained in different police stations and the top ones restricted to their houses to prevent them from leading protest demonstrations. Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who returned home to the Valley yesterday from Delhi, was put under house arrest soon after his arrival here. The chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Mohammad Yasin Malik, was detained by police after he took out a protest march this morning at Maisuma. Dozens of Malikís supporters tried to take out a protest march from his office in Maisuma towards City Centre Lal Chowk, but the police prevented them to move ahead. However, the march was foiled and the police and CRPF personnel who intercepted the protesters detained Malik and some of his supporters. The JKLF chairman has been evading arrest for the last few days in view of his programme to lead a protest march on Sunday. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Shalindera Kumar said here that situation in entire Valley remained peaceful and there were no reports of any untoward incident. He said that restrictions will continue till February 11. The Awami Ittihaad Party (AIP) President and MLA Langate, Engineer Rashid was arrested along with scores of workers near Jawahir Nagar Muncipal Park, Srinagar, while leading protest towards Lal Chowk.