Srinagar, Feb 25: A concertina wire barricade that was set up by Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) ahead of 5th August on a key bridge has evoked strong resentment bridge the residents of the Habbakadal area of old city.
Setting up of razor wire across the old Habbakadal bridge has blocked it for vehicular and pedestrian movement. The 50-feet bridge connects many areas of the old city with the civil line area and has witnessed several stone pelting incidents in the past several years. The bridge was closed to control mass-scale protests after 5th August.
The residents today assembled near the bridge and held a peaceful sit-in against the blocking of the bridge and demanded its immediate reopening. In absence of the bridge, residents said, they are forced to take longer detours for healthcare, education and business purposes as the majority of these institutions are situated on the other side of the Jhelum.
The worst-hit has been the shopkeepers of the area who have repeatedly raised the issue with the concerned authorities. “We do not know the reason behind blocking of this bridge. I am the shopkeeper in the area and my business has taken a hit. We have raised the issues with the security and civil administration but to no avail,” Mohammad Maqbool Kuchay, a protestor said.
The protesting residents said that the students have to cover long distances to reach their schools. “There are around 20 schools in the area and Deputy Commissioner’s Office is also on the other side. We are facing immense hardships. We want authorities to clear the bridge,” Nissar Ahmad said.
The protestors informed that the CRPF bunker on one side of the bridge has set up the barricade to avoid confrontation with stone pelters. “A couple of incidents happened here. There was no big incident. The blocking of the bridge has affected the lives of the people. They are hiding their failure to keep law and order with the move. They are inflicting miseries on us,” a protestor said.