PM Rally: Srinagar Turned in to Fortress



By Shahid Tantray
KL Image Courtesy: Photo Journalist Shahid Tantray

The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir has been turned in to fortress ahead of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s visit and address to a rally in SK Stadium here.

Restrictions were imposed on Saturday across Srinagar city ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kashmir.

Razor fitted concertina wire coils were placed across traffic crossings on the main roads leading to Lal Chowk and adjoining areas.

Senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, and Asiya Andrabi were placed under preventive detention.

Geelani had called for a parallel rally – Srinagar Million March – on Saturday in Srinagar barely half a km away from the venue of Modi’s public rally.

Authorities had conveyed to Geelani that permission for the rally was declined because of the prime minister’s visit the same day.

Unprecedented security arrangements were seen in Srinagar city on Saturday as police personnel and paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) troopers wearing bullet proof vests and holding automatic weapons took up positions along roads and at important installations.

All roads leading to SK cricket stadium were sealed for vehicular movement.

Passage on these roads is regulated through special passes issued to security forces and other participants.

Modi is scheduled to arrive here at 11.30 a.m., and will address the public rally at noon.

He will fly to Chanderkote in Ramban district at 1 p.m. where he will inaugurate the 450 megawatt phase second of Baglihar power project.

The prime minister will also inaugurate the four-laning of the Udhampur-Banihal stretch of Jammu-Srinagar highway.

All shops, public transport, other businesses and educational institutions remained closed in Srinagar city.

Train services from Banihal town in Ramban district to Baramulla town in Kashmir Valley have also been suspended for the day.

Only one-way traffic will be allowed from Srinagar to Jammu on the national highway on Saturday.

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