Authorities foil separatist march to UN Office

Cops checking vehicles during restrictions in Srinagar on Friday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Cops checking vehicles during restrictions in Srinagar on Friday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Curfew in Srinagar to prevent protest

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Aug 23: Authorities today imposed curfew like restrictions in Srinagar and other major towns and foiled a protest march called by separatists to the UN office in Sonawar area of Srinagar.
The loud speaker fitted Police vans this morning announced curfew in Srinagar and asked people not to venture out of their houses. The curfew was announced after authorities this week eased restrictions in Kashmir and allowed movement of vehicles and people in majority of the areas. The curfew was imposed in Kashmir on August 5.
Security forces blocked all the roads in Srinagar with concertina wire and iron barricades and no movement was allowed. At places, especially in old city area, people with curfew passes were also not allowed to move. The roads were also blocked in the areas which are otherwise peaceful as authorities didn’t want to take any chance.
The Sonwar area of Srinagar where the UN Military Observers office is located was completed sealed and no movement was allowed in that area. The Friday prayers at Syed Sahib near to the UN office was not allowed today to prevent any protest.
Police and para-military forces had blocked the roads leading to the UN Office with concertina wire and iron barricades.
In Soura area of Srinagar, hundreds of people including women and children protested after Friday prayers against the scrapping of Article 370 of the constitution that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces had blocked all the entry routes of Soura to prevent people from marching on the main road.
Security forces fired tear gas and pellets to disperse the protesters and they tried to enter Soura locality, the lanes and bylanes of which had been blocked by the locals. At least three protesters suffered minor pellet injuries.
There were some small protests in Chanpora area of Srinagar and Shopian town in South Kashmir where people took to streets after Friday prayers. However, the protests were peaceful.
In some parts of Srinagar, there were reports of minor stone pelting incidents but police fired teargas to foil these protests.
The Friday prayers were not allowed in major mosques of the Valley including Jamia Masjid Srinagar which remained locked since August 5. The prayers were allowed in interior mosques but security forces were heavily deployed to prevent any protest after Friday prayers.
Schools remained closed and attendance in majority of the government offices was thin today due to curfew like restrictions. The shops and business establishments were also shut and the streets were deserted with only security forces patrolling the streets. However, the Friday prayers passed off peacefully as there was no major incident anywhere in Kashmir.