Strict curfew across Kashmir to prevent flare up in violence

Deserted Shikaras due to continued curfew in Srinagar on Thursday. (UNI)
Deserted Shikaras due to continued curfew in Srinagar on Thursday. (UNI)

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, July 21: Strict curfew was imposed in Kashmir today to prevent any flare up in the violence as separatists had called for afternoon relaxation in shutdown that is going on since July 9 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani.
Separatist leaders had asked people to resume their routine activities today after 2 pm but the police and security forces imposed strict curfew across Kashmir to foil any protests.
A police spokesman in a statement issued here said that there will no relaxation in curfew and restrictions across Kashmir valley. “The curfew and restrictions will remain strictly in place throughout the day till further orders”, the statement said.
Curfew in Srinagar was strictly enforced today. Though there was movement of people in uptown and civil lines areas of city including Lal Chowk in the morning but during the afternoon the police erected barbed wires and deployed CRPF in the civil lines area mostly Lal Chowk area and closed several roads.
The Residency Road, Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Koker Bazar and Court Road were completely sealed by Police and CRPF and no shopkeeper was allowed to open his shop even as many had reached city centre. In non-curfewed areas like Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Magarmal Bagh and Maharaja Bazar, majority of shops remained closed while only fewer shops were seen partially open.
Meanwhile, this afternoon in Nawab Bazar area of the Old City a motor-cyclist had a narrow escape after he failed to stop. The CRPF persons fired at him and it hit the tyre of his bike. The motor -cyclist was injured as he fell down and was removed to the SMHS hospital for treatment. The incident triggered protests in the area.
There were minor incidents of stone pelting on the security forces at few places, in Srinagar this evening. Police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters at several places in the city.
Protests erupted at SMHS hospital in Srinagar after authorities asked the volunteers to close their stalls providing free food and medicines to the injured and their attendants inside the hospital.
Police this morning asked the volunteers to close their stalls. The attendants and locals came out on main road and protested against the government.
In South Kashmir and North Kashmir, curfew remained in force while in some areas of North Kashmir including Baramulla town, the vendors were seen selling vegetables but shops mostly remained closed.
The shops, business establishments, Government offices, banks remained closed and traffic was off the roads due to strike and curfew across Kashmir. The Deputy Commissioner Srinagar’s call to government employees to report to their duties failed as majority of the government offices were deserted.
A police spokesman said here that the situation throughout the Kashmir valley remained peaceful and under control, today. “There were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the valley although a couple of stray stone pelting incidents were reported from Nowpora-Sopore and Karan Nagar-Srinagar”, the statement issued by the spokesman said.
The train services between Banihal and Baramulla remained suspended for 13th consecutive day today. All the roads and National Highway remained shut during the day. However, during the night the National Highway remained open for traffic under tight security.
The mobile phone services and internet also remained shut while only BSNL postpaid and broad- band internet and landlines have remained unaffected. These services are mostly used for communication by Police, security forces and government officials. The authorities have already made it clear that the cellular services would be restored only after there are signs of improvement in situation.
In the meantime, the newspapers that failed to hit stands in Kashmir valley for five days, appeared this morning. The newspapers hit the stands after editors were assured cooperation by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
The schools in the four district of Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla and Bandipora failed to re-open as parents desisted from sending their wards to schools even as Government had announced re-opening of schools in these districts.
However, according to Commissioner/ Secretary School Education, Shaleen Kabra, schools in some districts of the Valley and winter zone of Jammu division opened today after summer vacation.
“In rural areas where staff is mostly local, the schools witnessed moderate attendance while in semi -urban centres, restricted movements due to bandh calls resulted in thin attendance in the schools”, the statement issued here said.