Police foils Eidgah march amid curfew

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Aug 11: Police today foiled separatist march to Eidgah in the old city area of Srinagar by imposing strict curfew in parts of Kashmir especially old city area even as the curfew, shutdown and protests continued for 34th day today paralyzing life in Valley.
Police today detained chairmen of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and their followers who were trying to march to Eidgah. Geelani was detained as he came out of residence at Hyderpora to carry out a protest march and Mirwaiz was detained as he was trying to come out of his residence at Nageen.
Earlier in the morning, a large contingent of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed in old city area and roads leading to Eidgah were sealed with concertina wire to prevent movement of people and vehicles. Even the curfew passes were not entertained around Eidgah area.
Curfew in Maisuma and Batamaloo areas also remained in place to thwart protests while rest of the city observed a shutdown. The situation remained peaceful across the Srinagar but clashes erupted between youths and retreating security forces in the evening. Amid strict restrictions, protests and clashes broke out at several places in day including at Nawa Kadal, Kak Sarai and Zampa Kadal.
Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces in Kak Sarai area of Srinagar near the Eidgah. Security forces fired tear smoke shells to disperse the protesters.
A protest was held in Kani Kadal area of Srinagar, in which men, children and mostly youth participated but it dispersed peacefully.
The public transport was off the roads here in city but some private vehicles and auto-rickshaws were seen plying on the roads of civil lines including at Residency Road, MA Road, Dalgate, Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Batamaloo and Sonwar.
For the fourth day, the vehicles on Srinagar-Jammu, Srinagar-Baramulla-Kupwara and Srinagar-Bandipora were also seen plying in good numbers today as heavy forces were deployed to prevent protesters from disrupting vehicular movement. However, during the day it was blocked at several places by the protesters.
The train services between Banihal and Baramulla remained disrupted for 34th day today and major roads remained shut due to blockades by protesters.
The shops, business establishments and most of the Government offices remained shut with only some shops selling essentials opened in the early morning and late evening and people were seen busy in buying essentials.
The prepaid cell phone services and mobile internet continues to remain blocked across Valley and only BSNL broadband internet services are functional.
Reports said that a protest rally was organized by the locals in Talangam village of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district. However, there was no violence.
A police spokesman said here that the situation in the Valley remained by and large normal barring few incidents of stone pelting by the miscreants. “Although restrictions under Section 144/CrPC remained in force in the Valley, curfew was imposed in some parts of Srinagar, Pampore and Anantnag towns only”, the spokesman said.
“Miscreants pelted stones on security force deployments in Goriwan area of Bijbehara, Anantnag. Later, they were chased away by using mild force”, the spokesman said.
The spokesman said that in Srinagar a group of miscreants pelted stones on security force deployments near Kak Sarai in the jurisdiction of Police Station Karan Nagar, Srinagar. They were chased away.
In the meantime, police today appealed parents of children not to allow their children to take part in stone pelting. They have also appealed preachers not to deliver provocative sermons on Friday.
“It has been observed for last few Fridays that after the culmination of Friday prayers miscreants force the people to assemble on the chowks and roads;  thus obstructing the normal traffic. Many a times these gatherings are manipulated to pelt stones upon the police/security force deployments. In order to avoid such situations the parents are requested not to allow their children to take part in such activities. Youth are advised not to fell prey to such machinations. The Imams and Khateebs are also requested not to deliver provocative speeches so that the situation is not exploited by vested interests”, police statement reads.
In the meantime, separatists have called for fresh protests, rallies and shutdown. They have called for “Referendum March” to Lal Chowk in Srinagar on August 13 and 14. They have called for complete shutdown on August 15 and have asked traders to protest on August 16. They have called for protest march to United Nations Military Observers Group India and Pakistan office at Sonwar Srinagar on August 17 and on 18th August they have asked people to block roads.