High alert in Kashmir on PM’s visit tomorrow

 

SRINAGAR : Security has been lightened ahead of Prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to this summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir for addressing an election rally at S K cricket stadium tomorrow.  

Mr Modi will be the third Prime Minister of the country to address a rally from the same venue in high security Sonawar area of the city, which has been closed for the past more than a week.  

Earlier, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had addressed a public rally, extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan when relations between two neighbours were very strained following Kargil war.  

Mr Vajpayee on April 18,2003 offered a hand of friendship to Pakistan during a speech in S K stadium . The offer was welcomed by Pakistan and set the dialogue process, which was discontinued after Kargil war, rolling between the two countries. Later in May both the countries restored diplomatic ties.  

Since the relations between India and Pakistan are again at its low, people expect some message of friendship to neighbouring country.  

Leaders of different mainstream political parties, including Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Conference (NC), Communist Party of India (M) and others cutting across party lines have time and again said that good relations between India and Pakistan are necessary for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have suffered the most during these years of strained relations.   Later Dr Manmohan Singh, as prime minister addressed a public meeting at SK stadium in 2004. However, hours before Dr Singh was to address the rally, security forces foiled a fidayeen attack and killed two militants hiding in a nearby structure at Rustam Gali top to attack a rally of PM.   Later, on April 7,2005, shortly before Dr Singh was to flagg off Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK) to help families divided in 1947 to meet each others, there was a fidayeen attack on Tourists Reception Centre (TRC).   Kashmiris, who were scheduled to travel in the first bus had a narrow escape as they were putting up in TRC but were rescued and the bus operated later despite militant threat and opposition by some of the separatist groups.   Taking no chance this time on Mr Modi’s visit, security forces have been put on high alert to foil any militant attempt to disrupt the rally..  

Though security forces are already on high alert in view of the Assembly elections and sudden spurt in militant violence, a fresh advisory has been issued to all security agencies to keep a close watch on anti national elements who may try to disrupt peace during the Prime Minister visit to Srinagar, official sources told.

The SK stadium was closed for any activities for the past more than a week. However, all roads leading to stadium have been closed since this morning, a day before the scheduled rally.  

The traffic police department has also issued an advisory that no traffic will be allowed on any route towards the stadium tomorrow.  

Interestingly, a strike call by separatists against the Prime Minister’s visit will make things easy for security forces as not many vehicles and people will be on roads.   Security forces have put up more naka checkings, particularly in the civil lines and uptown, conducting random search of vehicles and frisking of pedestrians and passengers.  

Hundreds of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed in and around the S K stadium for the past about one week.  

Security forces have occupied all high rise buildings around the stadium, keeping a close watch on vehicles and pedestrians.  

A large number of sharp shooters were also deployed on nearby Suliman Tang and Rustam Gali in the Dalgate area, keeping a close vigil with the help of binoculars. The road to SK stadium from civil lines has been closed with barbed wire near Radio Kashmir, Srinagar, crossing.   No vehicle, even pedestrians, were not being allowed to go towards the stadium.  

Similarly, vehicles coming from south Kashmir, including Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Pampore are being diverted through bypass to reach civil lines from Nowgam.   A cab driver Abdul Rashid said he was not allowed to take Badami Bagh route and asked to go via bypass.   Naka checks were established at Tourist Reception Centre, Budshah Chowk, Ram Bagh and civil lines. Almost all vehicles, particularly carrying passengers, were being thoroughly searched and passengers frisked and their identity cards checked before allowing them to go.   Vehicles entering the city from outside were also being searched properly as security forces believe that militants may try to sneak into civil lines from outskirts to cause disturbances.  

On December 5, security forces killed two militants of Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) when they were trying to infiltrate into city from outskirts at Soura. The slain militants included a self-styled commander of Lashker Qari Asrar, wanted in number of militancy related incidents.

Meanwhile, the traffic authorities have imposed major traffic restrictions in the summer capital, Srinagar .   According to traffic authorities, in view of visit of the Prime Minister to Srinagar, a route plan for smooth plying of traffic in Srinagar city has been notified.   Accordingly, the vehicles coming from South Kashmir will be allowed to ply only upto Badami Bagh Cantonment Batwara, two km away from S K Cricket stadium, venue of PM’s rally.   No vehicle will be allowed to proceed beyond this point towards Sonwar area. The rally vehicles will remain parked in Kendriya Vidyalaya ground.  

The vehicles coming from Baramulla, Kupwara and Budgam will be allowed to ply only upto Hatric Crossing Raj Bagh and Budshah Bridge near Jehangir Chowk. No vehicle will be allowed to proceed beyond Budshah Chowk and Hatric Crossing Raj Bagh.  

The vehicles coming from Ganderbal will be allowed to ply only upto Hotel Lalit and upto Police Golf Course Boulevard Srinagar and the vehicles coming from Khanyar side will be allowed only upto Badyari crossing.  

However, in case of emergency, the drivers of such vehicles can contact traffic police.

(AGENCIES)

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