Restrictions eased in most parts of Kashmir

Traffic plying in parts of Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
Traffic plying in parts of Srinagar on Thursday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Security tightened ahead of Friday prayers

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Aug 22: Restrictions were eased in most parts of Srinagar today even as the troops remained heavily deployed in sensitive areas of the city and markets were closed.
In Srinagar’s civil lines areas there were no restrictions today but in the old city and other sensitive areas they were eased but people stayed indoors and the streets were deserted.
Some private vehicles and a few inter-district cabs as well as auto-rickshaws were seen plying in the civil lines area and old city. The shops and business establishments remained closed and the schools that were opened by the Government early this week, remained deserted as students failed to turn up due to security concerns. The school buses plied on various routes in Srinagar but they returned empty.
However, some shops selling essentials opened in the evening and people were seen buying the commodities. The traffic movement in the evening was better than during the day.
Even as the overall situation across the Valley remained tense amidst uneasy calm, there was no untoward incident from anywhere in Kashmir. And an official said that there has been decrease in the stone pelting incidents across Kashmir for last few days after dozens of persons were rounded up from these areas.
Mobile services and internet remained suspended for the 18th consecutive day in entire Kashmir even as the landline telephone services have been restored at most places, except Srinagar’s commercial hub of Lal Chowk and Press Enclave.
Meanwhile, ahead of Friday’s protest march called by the separatists to United Nations Military Observers office in Sonawar area of Srinagar, preparations were being made for imposing restrictions tomorrow in Srinagar and other major towns to prevent any protests.
An official said that strict restrictions will be imposed in Kashmir tomorrow to prevent any protests after Friday prayers. The security forces will not allow any movement in Srinagar and other major towns and the roads will be barricaded.
The decision for the restrictions was taken after the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of separatists through posters called for march to UN office in Sonwar area after Friday. Authorities are not taking any chances and sources said that no Friday prayers will be allowed in the major mosques across the Valley, however, in local mosques the prayers will be allowed.
The official said that there will be heavy deployment of security forces outside the local mosques to prevent any protests.