SRINAGAR: Day after the killing of Ansar-Gazwatul Hind (AGH) chief Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Zakir Musa, the authorities on Friday imposed strict curbs in most parts of Srinagar and South Kashmir amid heavy deployment of security forces to prevent any protests.
However, a spontaneous shutdown was observed across Kashmir amid sporadic clashes in parts of Srinagar and elsewhere with police maintaining that security scenario post Musa’s killing was being “managed well” and there were no law and order problem.
In Downtown Srinagar, amid stringent curbs, no Friday congregational prayers were allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid for the second consecutive week in the ongoing fasting month of Ramadhan.
In Srinagar, the curbs were imposed in areas under jurisdiction of Rainawari, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safa Kadal and Maharaj Gunj police stations.
According to witnesses, the restrictions this time were so tough that the security forces personnel deployed in lanes and by-lanes didn’t even allow people to buy essential food items like milk and bread.
President Private Diagnostic Association, Umar Dhar, said it was for the first time in past 20 years that his clinic remained closed.
“Such were the restrictions that I saw ambulances being stopped and cancer patients being asked to go back. Even the patients who had sought appointment for dialysis too were sent back by the security forces,” he said.
A spontaneous shutdown was observed across Kashmir. CRPF soldiers who were swiftly deployed across the Valley had erected barriers on roads to prevent civilian protests. A witness said restrictions were strictly imposed by the security forces at crucial entry points on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and other southern parts including Sangam, Bijbehera, Khanabal, Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian to prevent processions or people’s march to Musa’s hometown, Tral.
“Nobody was allowed to proceed towards Tral. People chose alternate routes to reach Tral to participate in the funeral of Musa,” a witness said.
CLASHES IN SRINAGAR, ELSEWHERE
Clashes broke out between youth and security forces in parts of Srinagar and elsewhere last night itself when news spread that Musa was locked in a gunfight with security forces. After Friday congregational prayers also, youths clashed with the police and CRPF.
A witness said that youth engaged security forces in pitched battles at Hyderpora, Rainawari, Habba Kadal, Batamaloo, Soura, Ali Jan Road, Elahibagh, Buchpora, 90-feet road. “The forces resorted to use of tear gas shells to disperse the protestors,” a witness said. At Saida Kadal, youth had blocked the road and no vehicle was allowed to ply, another witness said.
In Sopore area of Baramulla district, a youth sustained injury in his hand and face after a tear gas shell exploded in his hand during clashes after Friday prayers. He was later shifted to SMHS hospital for specialised treatment.
A witness said that three other youth who sustained minor injuries were treated locally. The area also witnessed clashes in the evening, in which two youth sustained pellet injuries, another witness said.
Meanwhile, soon after the withdrawal of security forces, youth resorted to heavy stone pelting on the forces in Eidgah, Sekidafar, Safa Kadal, Kawdara and other adjoining areas. Residents said that smoke emanating from dozens of tear gas shells fired by the security forces filled air, causing distress to the elderly, children and people with chest diseases.
“The clashes in downtown parts were on till late evening,” a witness said.
SCHOOLS, COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES CLOSED TODAY
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan said that all schools, colleges and universities of Valley will remain closed on Saturday (May 25) also. “Only exams will be held as per schedule but there will be no class work,” he told Greater Kashmir.
Also, mobile internet services that were snapped on Thursday evening on all networks continued to remain suspended on Friday. A police officer said the decision to restore the internet services depends on how the situation shapes up. “We will assess the situation and take a decision accordingly,” he said.
Inspector general of police Kashmir range Swayam Prakash Pani said the security scenario is being managed well and there has been no law and order problem so far.__GK News