R-Day Passes Off Peacefully As Valley Observes Shutdown

26 January 2015
Rising Kashmir
Ishfaq Naseem

Srinagar: The Republic Day functions passed off peacefully across the Valley with authorities for the first time in a decade not snapping mobile and internet services on the day while normal life was disrupted by the strike called by separatist groups. Heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces was made in the city and roads leading to Bakshi Stadium, the main venue of the Republic Day function in the Valley, were sealed and restrictions placed on the vehicular movement. A multi-tier security ring comprising police and paramilitary forces was put in place around the stadium and contingents of the security men were deployed at different junctions. The cops had laid spools of barbed wire to seal the roads around the stadium and took vantage positions to guard the venue. Due to the massive security deployment in the city, people preferred to stay indoors. Elsewhere, in the city and its outskirts, barricades and checkpoints were erected at many places and vehicles thoroughly checked before allowed to move on. The day passed off peacefully with no untoward incident reported from any part of the Valley. All the R-Day functions held in district headquarters concluded peacefully. Police had earlier sounded an alert and security arrangements were beefed up owing to visit of US President Barrack Obama to India. Despite unprecedented security measures, authorities for the first time in a decade did not snap mobile and internet services in the Valley. After militants had triggered blast outside the Bakshi Stadium during the August 25 parade in 2005, the mobile and internet services were suspended during the Independence Day and Republic Day functions owing to security reasons. Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Rohit Kansal, said it was for the first time that mobile and internet services functioned normally on the Republic day. A complete shutdown was observed in the Valley in response to the strike call given by separatist leaders. All shops, business establishments and petrol pumps remained closed while public transport was off the roads. Only police and paramilitary vehicles were plying on the deserted roads. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir range, A G Mir said elaborate security arrangements were put in place for the Republic Day functions. 'The functions passed off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the Valley,' he said.