Amid protests, rumours, restrictions re-imposed in Srinagar city parts

MAJID NABI. Dated: 8/24/2019 12:15:27 AM

SRINAGAR, Aug 23: Kashmir valley continued to remain under siege on the nineteenth straight day today as the authorities, following rumours of ‘UN Chalo’ march call by ‘separatists’, re-imposed restrictions in Srinagar on Friday amid ‘sporadic’ protests and clashes.
Rumours regarding separatists’ call asking people to march towards United Nations office at Sonwar were rife on Thursday prompting authorities to re-impose restrictions afresh in Srinagar city to maintain law and order.
It may be in place to mention that most of the separatist leaders were either arrested or kept under preventive detention either at their residences or makeshift detention centres a day before the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was scrapped and the state bifurcated into two separate union territories on August 5.
Valley’s grand mosque, Jamia Masjid at Nowhatta area of the old city was closed for Friday congregational prayers on fourth straight week.
All the roads leading to United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) at Sonwar were blocked amid thick presence of forces. Curfew passes issued to media persons by the district administration were also not entertained by the police. They were asked to take alternate routes to reach media facilitation centre.
“We have strict orders not to allow media persons. The curfew passes issued to media are not valid, so go and ask your DC why police is not allowing journalists to move freely,” a journalist who works with international news channel quoted a policeman as having told him.
Markets across Kashmir wore a deserted look with spools of concertina wires and iron barricades placed on roads to choke the public movement. Apprehending breach of peace, authorities deployed additional companies of paramilitary and police on roads.
All the educational institutions, government and semi-government offices, banks and courts remained closed. Administration had claimed to have opened offices and schools up to primary and middle level across Kashmir.
Authorities also redeployed paramilitary CRPF at Residency Road and city centre Lal Chowk wherein curbs were lifted a few days ago to avoid any untoward incident. Very thin movement of private vehicles was seen on roads at civil lines.
With prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC across Kashmir in place, communication blockade has taken toll on people who have not been able to contact their relatives studying or working within and outside India.
Pertinently the administration blocked all modes of communication in Kashmir valley thereby leaving people completely isolated and helpless.
Stringent restrictions were re-imposed in several parts of Srinagar especially in the old city where the same were lifted earlier as claimed by the administration. All the entry and exit points leading to old city were blocked with no public movement being allowed.
People at Soura area on the outskirts of Srinagar hit the streets post Friday congregational prayers to protest what they termed “unwarranted” and “unconstitutional decision of abrogating special status of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Reports said that clashes also broke out in the area between youth and the forces deployed there which continued for nearly one hour.
Clashes also broke out in certain pockets of the old city and uptown localities wherein youth fought pitched battles with police and paramilitary forces. However, no one was reported to be injured in these incidents.



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