#Day49: Strict Curfew In Place Ahead of Eidgah March



Huge number of forces were deployed on way to Eidgah on Friday, August 26, 2016. (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)
Huge number of forces were deployed on way to Eidgah on Friday, August 26, 2016. (KL Image: Bilal Bahadur)

The J&K government has imposed strict curfew in Srinagar ahead of ‘Eidgah Chalo’ called by resistance leadership. All major routes to Eidgah in Old Srinagar have been blocked while there is very thin movement of people.

Though, curfew was lifted from uptown area of summer capital, the major Srinagar – Old Srinagar – areas continue to be under strict curfew or consecutive 49th day on Friday.

The government had lifted curfew once which proved counterproductive as intense clashes had erupted on July 26, 2016, it was Tuesday.

The government in its routine bulletins formally calls it “areas under six police stations” are under restrictions. These areas which form Old Srinagar of the summer capital had witnessed strong pro-freedom protests, clashes while it majorly remains away from electoral process in past.

However, during the current uprising, the Old Srinagar has been mostly curbed by huge deployment of forces. Para-military CRPF personnel have been deployed at all major points while curfew announcements are made as early as 2 AM in the night!

When the mass civil uprising was triggered on July 08, 2016 after popular militant commander Burhan Wani was killed, hundreds of people of Old Srinagar assembled in the premises of historic Jamia Masjid and had offered funeral in absentia for the slain rebel. Protests, clashes were witnessed at many places during last 48 days, however, it did not spread en masse.

One youth, Irfan Ahmad Wani, was shot dead last week in Nowhatta area. Nowhatta houses historic Jamia Masjid where authorities disallowed mandatory Friday congregational prayers for last consecutive Fridays. While forces shot dead two suspected militants in the same area opposite Jamia Masjid some days ago.

This is seventh consecutive Friday and curfew has been tightened given the ‘Eidgah Chalo’ call by the resistance leadership. Reports said that all routes, lanes and by-lanes leading to Eidgah have been sealed.

But all these days, people after offering Fajr prayers, would buy vegetables for their families.

“We have not seen any major business happening all these days,” a resident of Nawakadal said, “yes, whatever happened, happened in a hurried way.”

The local said, “shops located deep inside Mohallas open late evening for short period of time and those who need essential items know the timing and they do shopping briskly.”

When asked how they managed buying vegetables for them all these days, “it is after Fajr Namaz that our elders buy vegetables from around Noorbagh.”

Narrating one incident, the caller said, “my two cousins went to buy vegetables on Thursday around 5 in the morning but they were unable to return home from the same route as curfew is imposed by 6 0r 6: 30.” “They changed routes and lanes to finally come as our worries mounted.”

Old Srinagar is majorly a concrete developed parts of summer capital with meagre amount of land available for vegetable fields. But deep inside Khanyar or Nowhatta, the vegetable producers of Kawdara area suffice the local needs.

“Vegetable vendors from Kawdara come around 10:30, 11 Pm every day and people buy the varied vegetables,” a resident of Khanyar said.

However, the locals complained the shortage of money in case ATM of various banks go empty or are closed.

“ATMS are empty at many places,” a local from Safakadal said. “It has created problems though people have been very austere.”

In many instances, some vegetable loads from several rural areas have managed reach Old Srinagar. “Once, the local Bait-ul-Maal distributed vegetables of different kinds but we don’t wherefrom the truck had come,” a resident from Sekidafar said.

Another lorry of vegetables had come from Palhallan and that too was distributed by some Bait-ul-Maal in a Srinagar locality.

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