Situation Remained Normal; 20 Hurriyat Activists Detained: Police



Women folk protesting in South Kashmir's Achabal area
Women folk protesting in South Kashmir’s Achabal area on Friday.

Kashmir valley Friday remained tense on the fifth consecutive day as authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in Srinagar and Islamabad districts to curb protests against the killing of Zahid Rasool Bhat by a Hindu mob in Udhampur with petrol bombs.

Authorities imposed strict restrictions in Srinagar city areas falling under police stations in Maisuma, Safakadal, MR Gunj, Nowhatta, Rainawari, Khanyar and Kralkhud to thwart a joint protest program announced by Hurriyat (m) head Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta here.

Police also detained scores of Hurriyat activists who tried to take out protests in the city.

Mirwaiz had invited veteran resistance leader, Syed Ali Geelani, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Jammu Kashmir High Court Bar Association President, Mian Qayoom; civil society activists and other resistance leaders to participate personally in the protests.

Geelani had also this week appealed people to hold protests after Friday prayers against thrashing of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and other separatists by forces in Bijbehara on Wednesday.

Apprehending huge protests after Friday prayers as the three leaders were scheduled to share a common stage, the government placed Mirwaiz, Geelani and JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik under house arrest on Thursday evening.

Police and CRPF were deployed heavily in Old City, and its roads and major lanes in the area were barricaded with spools of razor wires to stop people and youth from coming out to assemble for protests.

Authorities did not allow Friday congregational prayers in grand old mosque, Jamia Masjid, where Hurriyat (m) Chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq leads the mass prayers. The roads to the Masjid were closed by barbed wires and deployment of security forces, and locals said that the whole area was under siege.

Police detained some Hurriyat (g) activists in Magarmal Bagh area as they staged protests after Friday prayers against the killing of Zahid and growing communal tensions in the state.

The activists raised slogans against Indian administration. Police deployed outside the Iqra Masjid bundled the activists in vans and detained them in a nearby police station.

Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Syed Mujtaba Gillani, claimed that the situation remained “absolutely fine” in South Kashmir, and “fine” in Srinagar, barring some minor protests.

“No clashes were reported throughout the day in either South Kashmir or in Srinagar. Over 20 Hurriyat activists were detained as they tried to disturb peace by taking out protests,” Gillani told KNS.

Meanwhile, Police and CRPF foiled a protest march by activists of Democratic Freedom Party at Sanat Nagar here.

Reports said that the DFP activists tried to march towards Sonwar to UN Observers Group office to present a memorandum about the human rights violations in Kashmir. But, police thwarted the protests and detained the protesters. DFP chief Shabir Shah was placed under house arrest.

In South Kashmir’s Islamabad district, curfew-like restrictions were imposed by the authorities which were apprehending protests after Friday prayers against the killing of Zahid.

However, despite restrictions youth raised protests and pelted forces with stones in Mattan, Achabal and Qazigund areas.

Police and CRPF were deployed for the fifth consecutive day today and prevent the people form assembling for protests.

Normal life remained crippled in Islamabad and Bijbehara towns, while business units, shops and educational institutions were shut due to restrictions.

Trains services were also suspended by Northern Railways, and traffic on Srinagar-Jammu Highway was completely affected. Goods and passenger carrier services could not play on the Highway for the fifth day today which impacted markets in the whole valley.

In north Kashmir, situation was normal, barring a protest in Baramulla town after worshippers took out a rally from Bait ul Mukarram masjid.

Slain Zahid and Showkat Ahmad were attacked by a Hindu mob in Udhampur on October and were set ablaze. Later, Zahid succumbed to his critical burn injuries at Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi, while Showkat is recuperating from his injuries.

Police in Udhampur has so far arrested nine persons on murder charges, while the main kingpin is yet to be arrested.


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