Kashmir shuts on Modi’s visit
* Restrictions in old Srinagar * No prayers at Jamia Masjid
* Protests, clashes reported from various parts * Separatists under house arrest
Amid shutdown in Kashmir, authorities Friday imposed restrictions in some parts of old city and other major towns on Prime Minister NarenderModi’s maiden visit to the state.
Almost all the separatist groups including Hurriyats led by Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had called for shutdown across Kashmir on the Prime Minister’s visit. The strike call was supported by the United Jihad Council (UJC).
Scores of police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were deployed in the old city areas falling under the jurisdiction of police stations MR Gunj, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Rainawari and SafaKadal.
No Friday prayers were allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. “It is first Friday of the holy month of Ramadhan and people are not allowed to offer Friday prayers in Jamia Masjid. It is a matter of grave concern that in the name of security, our religious rights are being curbed,” locals said.
The government forces had erected spools of concertina wire and stationed armored vehicles on important junctions to restrict movement of the people, witnesses said. The forces had blocked main squares and bridges of the Old City including at Nawab Bazar, RajouriKadal, BohriKadal, Khanyar, Nawakadal and Kawdara, they said.
Though there were no restrictions in uptown and Civil Lines areas of Srinagar, most of the shops, commercial establishments, schools, colleges, banks and petrol pumps remained closed. Attendance in government offices was also thin due to restrictions and non-availability of transport.
Shivpora and Sonawar localities near Badamibagh where PM chaired a security review meet also remained under siege and nobody was allowed to venture out on the main road as heavy deployment of police, CRPF and Army personnel had cordoned off the areas. No public or private transport was allowed on these roads till late evening.
However, despite strict security measures, protests broke out at various places in the city.
Witnesses said that a group of youth took to streets at Chota Bazar in KaniKadal area of the city and shouted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans and also burnt tires on the road.
In neighboring Balgarden locality, a peaceful protest was held after Friday prayers outside main mosque of the locality. In volatile Maisuma, a peaceful protest against Modi’s visit was held, witnesses said.
In uptown areas of Barzulla and Kralpora also people staged peaceful protests.
Budgam and Ganderbal districts of central Kashmir also observed complete shutdown against the PM’s visit.
Complete shutdown was observed in all the districts of north Kashmir including Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora while protests and clashes also broke out at many places in the area, sources said.
In Sopore town of Baramulla district, a peaceful protest rally was taken out from Jamia Masjid soon after Friday prayers. At Khanpora Bridge in Baramulla town, youth clashed with forces, witnesses said.
Clashes were reported from volatile Palhallan area of the district after Friday prayers.
The youth and government forces also clashed at GulshanChowk in Bandipora district, sources said.
Like north and central Kashmir, complete shutdown was also observed in south Kashmir areas.
Witnesses said that shutdown was observed in Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Anantnag districts with sporadic protests at some places.
Reports said peaceful protests were held in Anantnag and Pulwama townships after Friday prayers.
JKLF CADRES STAGE PROTEST
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) cadres staged “Quit Kashmir” protests in Maisuma area of the city here.
“Quit Kashmir” balloons were released into the air from MaqboolManzilMaisuma, headquarters of JKLF.
SEPARATISTS UNDER HOUSE ARREST
Senior separatist leaders including chiefs of both factions of Hurriyat Syed Ali Geelani, and MirwaizUmer Farooq, JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik and HCJK head Shabir Ahmad Shah were placed under house arrest.
Other separatists who were placed under house arrest include Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Javaid Mir, Moulana Abbas Ansari, Shahid-ul-Islam, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Dr GM Ganai and Ayaz Akbar.
Hilal War was arrested and lodged at Maisuma police station while Mukhtar Ahmad Waza was put under preventive custody at Sheerbagh, Islamabad.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Shailendra Kumar said the day passed off peacefully. “The day passed off peacefully except the bus incident that happened in Ganderbal injuring some people,” he said.