Restrictions, strike keep life paralysed in Kashmir

Clashes in parts of Valley
Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, June 28: For the fourth consecutive day today, the normal life across Kashmir remained disrupted due to strike called by the Grand Mufti of Kashmir over the gutting of over 200-year-old shrine of Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani at Khanyar area of Srinagar city.
Schools, colleges, shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in response to the strike call. Public transport was off the roads in most parts of the Valley, while a few private vehicles were seen plying in some areas. Attendance in Government offices and banks was very thin.
Grand Mufti of Kashmir, Mufti Bashirudin, called for two day strike yesterday. He also called for a march to the gutted shrine on Friday. Mufti described the gutting of shrine as a great tragedy and conspiracy and demanded impartial probe into its gutting.
The curfew like restrictions continued in the parts of Srinagar city for third day today. These include areas falling under Police Stations of Khanyar, Maharaj Gunj, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and Kralkhud. The curfew like restrictions were imposed as a preventive measure to maintain law and order, Srinagar city.
Director General of Police, K Rajendra, today said that the restriction in parts of Srinagar after the gutting of shrine of Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani at Khanyar on Monday were imposed as a preventive measure.
Hurriyat Conference chairman, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, strongly condemned the continuous imposition of undeclared curfew in parts of Srinagar following the mysterious fire at the shrine. HC termed the Government action of imposing the curfew as a dictatorial.
Mirwaiz said the sacred shrine represented historic, religious, cultural and collective identity of Kashmiris, adding, besides being the centre of spirituality. He said that it was obvious that people would emotionally react to the incident which has hurt the religious sentiments of lakhs of Kahsmiris.
He said that the curbs stopped the devotees, ulemmas, and commoners from visiting the shrine and instead, the Government is officially facilitating the visit of those people who have not even a distant relation with the revered Shrine. He described the Government act as absolutely shameful and highly regrettable.
Mirwaiz said that due to the continuous curbs and curfew, the residents living in the old city are facing immense problems like insufficient stock of food and vegetables.
He demanded immediate lifting of undeclared curfew so that people can move freely and buy the food stocks and medicines.
District Magistrate Srinagar, Baseer Ahmad Khan, ordered imposition of curfew like restrictions on movement of people and transport in six police station areas of the old city on Monday evening, the day shrine was gutted in a blaze.
The restrictions were imposed after clashes erupted in Srinagar city soon after the gutting of shrine on Monday. Fifty people including 10 policemen were injured in those clashes.
Today clashes broke out between stone pelting youth at Kralpora, Machuwa and Chadoora in district Budgam and Kral khud area of Srinagar. However, police immediately swung into action and chased away the protesters. Several youth were picked up by police from Srinagar and Anantnag for disturbing peace.
Meanwhile, Custodian of Dastageer Sahib Shrine at Khanyar, Syed Khalid Jeelani, has thanked all the people who helped in retrieval of the holy relic during the fire incident at the shrine on Monday.
Jeelani said that people belonging to the Khanyar and adjoining areas played a pivotal role in retrieving the holy relic and other religious scriptures at the shrine. He said these people didn’t care for their life and plunged into the fire in order to save the valuables present there.
Governor N N Vohra today visited the gutted shrine at Khanyar. While expressing his deep sadness over what he called most unfortunate fire incident, he hoped that well planned work will commence very early to restore the revered and historical shrine to its pristine glory. He interacted with caretaker of the shrine at his residence. He expressed relief that the holy relics kept in this shrine are safe and secure.
The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) Member Parliament (MP) and spokesperson Prakash Javadekar today rejected the State Government’s probe into the gutting of the revered shrine. He demanded independent probe into what he called great tragedy. He said that it is conspiracy and demanded independent probe by a committee formed by the people of Kashmir.
The MP expressed shock over the tragedy. However, he expressed satisfaction over the retrieving of the holy relics by locals who risked their lives. He also met the caretaker of the shrine Syed Khalid Jeelani.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti also paid her obeisance at the gutted shrine of Sheikh Sayed Abdul Qadir Jeelani at Khanyar. Mehbooba paid her respects and obeisance at the shrine. She also met the family of the caretaker of the shrine Syed Khalid Jeelani.
The Chief Patron Jammu Kashmir Mahaz-e-Azadi (MeA) Muhammad Azam Inqilabi has appealed people to exhibit courage and steadfastness in these testing times.
Inqilabi said that the people should show same courage to face the situation as they did during the Holy Relic Movement and Chari-Sharif incident. He condemned the attack on Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Javaid Mir and Muhammad Yousuf Naqash at Khanyar on June 25.


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