Government on Friday foiled a protest march called by Joint Resistance Leadership to the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) by imposing curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar and elsewhere.

Resistance leaders had called for the march from all parts of Srinagar to the high-security Sonwar area where UNMOGIP is headquartered.

All roads leading to Sonwar were sealed with heavy deployment of police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), blocking all vehicles and even pedestrian movement.

The Friday congregation in the nearby shrine in Sonwar was also disallowed by the authorities fearing that the devotees might march to the nearby UN office.

Almost all the separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Aga Syed Hasan and others were placed under house arrest.

Forces had sealed all the roads leading towards UN office while city centre Lal Chowk had also been sealed and vehicular movement was disallowed.

To foil the march, authorities had imposed restrictions in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of 8 police stations including Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, M.R.Gunj, Safa Kadal, Maisuma, Kralkhud and Ram Munshibagh. Stringent restrictions were in place in Sonwar and old Srinagar city. No Friday prayers were allowed at historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar for the fourth consecutive week.

Meanwhile a complete shutdown was observed in Kashmir to protest against the recent civilian killings in forces’ action.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed while public transport was off the roads in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir. Even Rail Service remained suspended.

Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for a shutdown and a peaceful sit-in outside the UN office in Sonwar. “The sit-in protest would be organized against arbitrary curfews and restrictions in the valley, beating and injuring of people, curbs and persecution of leadership to the extent of disallowing them from participating in family funerals by force, JRL had said, in a statement.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chief Yasin Malik was detained after he tried to march towards the UN office in Sonwar as part of the joint resistance programme. Witnesses said that policemen detained Malik after he came out of Buchwara Jamia Masjid after offering congregational Friday prayers.

Malik had gone into hiding to prevent his arrest since yesterday morning. Last evening, police had raided his Abi Guzar office to arrest him.

Malik earlier led a protest march that was attended by hundreds of people. The protesters raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Protesters clashed with police and paramilitary forces in Sopore town of north Kashmir after Friday prayers. Reports said that forces lobbed teargas shells to disperse youth who tried to march towards the main chowk from Markazi Jamia Masjid, triggering clashes. (CNS)


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