I-Day: Valley Wrapped In Security Blanket

14 August 2015
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: Extraordinary security arrangements were put in place today on the eve of the India's Independence Day and in the aftermath of militant attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. The Bakhshi Stadium in Srinagar and the Maulana Azad Stadium in Jammu, the venues of the main Independence Day parades and functions in the state, have been taken over by security forces. Roads around the Bakhshi Stadium in Srinagar have been sealed for traffic and pedestrian movement with coils of concertina wire and makeshift drop gates. Sharp shooters have been deployed on high-rises around the Bakhshi Stadium to ensure that these vantage positions are not used by separatist guerrillas to fire rocket propelled grenades towards the parade venue. 'A three-tier security blanket has been thrown around Bakhshi Stadium,' police said adding that 17 battalions of CRPF would be additionally deployed for the day.' Javaid Mujtaba Geelani, inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir, told reporters in Srinagar that 'Adequate security arrangements have been made in Srinagar city and other places in the valley to ensure militants are not able to disrupt normalcy.' Policemen, wearing bullet proof vests and holding automatic weapons, are stopping and checking all vehicles entering Srinagar city. Passengers and vehicles are thoroughly checked before being allowed to enter the city. The makeshift checkposts have made the traffic move at snail's pace after vehicles enter the city. 'A number of CCTVs in addition to those already installed at traffic crossings, busy markets and around sensitive installations have been installed and made functional in Srinagar city to gear up surveillance and area domination on the eve of August 15 this year,' an official said in Srinagar. As in the past almost all the separatist and militant groups have called for a general strike on August 15. Reports said that security has been beefed up in North and South Kashmir as well. Extra-security arrangements have been made in Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag districts. Meanwhile normal life was paralyzed in old Srinagar city as authorities had imposed restriction on the movement of people in sensitive areas falling under the jurisdiction of different police stations. An undeclared curfew was imposed in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Khanyar, Safakadal, Nowhatta, Rainawari, M R Gunj, Kralkhud and Maisuma police stations. Due to severe restrictions, no Friday prayers could be offered in the city's Jamia Masjid. The impact of restrictions in old Srinagar city was felt in uptown as well where thin movement of people and transport was noticed throughout the day. Most schools in Srinagar announced a holiday while Kashmir University (KU) postponed all exams scheduled for Friday. A KU spokesperson said that the new dates for the postponed papers will be notified soon. Authorities said that extra caution was taken following Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's call for special prayers for peace and prosperity on the occasion of Pakistan Independence Day. Amid tight security and restrictions Pakistani flags were unfurled by unidentified persons in Srinagar as well as other parts of Kashmir Valley. The Pakistani green flags were spotted at Soura and several other parts of the city. A Pakistani flag was unfurled on the top of a cellular tower at Nowshera Srinagar. Activists of Duktaran-i-Milat unfurled Pakistani flags in at least two parts of Srinagar. Reports said that unknown youth unfurled many Pakistani flags on the pillars of sports stadium in Pulwama town. The green Pakistani flags were also waved in Tral, Redwani, Khudwani and Bogam areas of Kulgam and some parts of Bandipore district. These flags were later on removed by policemen. Half a dozen activists of Hurriyat (G) appeared in the Press Enclave here and waved the banner depicting the photographs of Pakistan founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani. A police official said that they have taken note of these incidents and a formal case will be registered against the 'miscreants'. -With inputs from CNS We are examining who have waved Pak flag: DGP SRINAGAR: Ruling out any specific threat in Srinagar with regard to the 15 August, Director General of Police K Rajindra Kumar Friday said that police is investigating who has waved Pakistan flag and that action will be taken as per the law in this regard. The DGP also said that police is also investigating hand behind the Shopian blast and recent grenade attacks. 'Anti national elements won't be tolerated. Police is investigating who has waved the Pakistan flag. Who so ever will be found involved in anti national activities will face the action as per law,' Police Chief K Rajendra Kumar told KNS over phone. The DGP further said that there is no specific input about the militant threat on 15 August in Srinagar. 'All security arrangements have been done for the independence day. Security forces have been asked to remain vigilant and keep watch on the suspected elements. I can say that there have been no specific inputs about militant threats in Srinagar,' the DGP claimed. When asked about the recent attacks on security forces the state police chief said, 'We are alert to the threat and prepared to handle any sort of emergency situation effectively.'We have been fighting terrorism for the last over two and half a decade', he said, adding that violence is on the decline as people are not in its favour. When asked who is behind the Shopian mysterious blast and other grenade attacks, The Police Chief said, 'We are investigation the matter and are collecting the evidences. Though in the past we have seen that the militants throw grenades in Srinagar and other parts of the valley but in these attacks police is investigating to know facts,' the DGP said. The DGP added that there is perfect synergy among all the forces and they are working shoulder to shoulder with each other to counter any untoward incident.