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Restrictions foil separatists’ UN march

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Feb 10: Authorities today imposed restrictions in Srinagar city areas here to foil a protest march called by separatists to the headquarters of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) at Sonwar.
Since early morning, security forces were deployed in strength at Lal Chowk, Sonwar, Dalgate and areas falling under five police stations – MR Gunj, Safa Kadal, Nowhatta, Khanyar and Rainwari –  of Old City here to foil the proposed march to the UN office. The security men had sealed off all the roads leading to the UNMOGIP at Sonwar by erecting barricades, concertina wires and armoured vehicles.
Although no separatist outfit had called for the shutdown today but majority of shops and commercial establishments across the city were closed while most of the people preferred to sit indoors. The private and public transport in civil line and uptown areas was minimal.
In the wake of call for March to UNMOGIP, the security forces did not allow Friday prayers at Jama Masjid in downtown here and placed separatist leader and cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house-detention at his Nigeen residence. The hardline Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani was also detained inside his house at Hydepora here.
Police detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Yasin Malik along with his several supporters when he attempted to lead a rally towards UN office at Sonwar from the shrine of Dastgeer Sahab at Sarai Bala locality after Friday prayers. Malik was later shifted to central jail Srinagar, a JKLF spokesman said.
The post-Friday clashes between protesters and security forces erupted at several places including Safa Kadal, Parimpora, Soura and Muchwa after Friday prayers in city here during which police used teargas and pepper gas canisters. Similar clashes were reported in the evening from downtown localities after withdrawal of security forces.
In other districts of the Valley, a partial shutdown was observed while clashes between youth and security forces erupted at Sopore town and Palhallan hamlet of Baramulla district after Friday congregational prayers. The clashes continued for several hours and police had to use dozens of teargas canisters against the protesters.
Police, meanwhile, said that the situation by and large was normal across the Kashmir valley. A police official said that the restrictions shall continue tomorrow as well in the city areas in view of the shutdown call given by separatists to commemorate the hanging anniversary of Maqbool Bhat who was executed and buried in Tihar jail on February 11, 1984.

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