Curfew-like restrictions re-imposed in Srinagar areas as shutdown, protests continue

Srinagar: In the wake of widespread protests on Monday here and elsewhere in Valley, the authorities today re-imposed curfew-like restrictions in Old City of Srinagar even as clashes, protests and shutdown continued across Kashmir Valley on 53rd day of mass uprising.

The curfew-like restrictions were re-imposed in all three police stations of Old City, which were not put under curfew yesterday, and hundreds of police and CRPF personnel were deployed to curtail civilian movement and prevent protests. The authorities yesterday lifted curfew from across Srinagar except in areas falling under the jurisdiction of police station MR Gunj and Nowhatta.

However, hundreds of youth at multiple places in Srinagar had taken to streets and staged pro-freedom protests. The protests at many places turned violent and after which clashes ensued between youths and forces. In view of the yesterday’s experience, the curfew-like restrictions were re-imposed today in all areas of Old City while deployments were put on alert in other areas of the city.

Despite stringent arrangements of security, scores of youths took to streets in Batamaloo area of Central Srinagar and staged anti-India protests. The protesters pelted stones on police and CRPF personnel, triggering clashes between the two sides. The police responded by firing teargas shells and also chased away the protesters multiple times. The intermittent clashes continued throughout the day in the areas.

The protests and clashes also broke out at Magarmal Bagh area of Civil Lines between police and protesters. Massive clashes erupted at Zampa Kadal and Chhatabal areas of Srinagar between youth and government forces. The forces lobbed scores of teargas shells in these areas against the protesters who however resorted to heavy stone-pelting. The clashes continued till evening while the stone-pelting was also reported from areas of Old City in the evening hours.

Meanwhile, authorities today lifted curfew from Pulwama town of south Kashmir for the first time since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Police officials said that there is improvement in the situation in Pulwama. According to police, there was no curfew in any part of the south Kashmir.

Amid complete shutdown, protests erupted at several areas of south Kashmir districts during which an elderly lady sustained injuries. Police sources said that clashes between youths erupted at Dooru area of Anantnag district after a rally in which one elderly woman was injured. He said similar clashes following a pro-freedom rally also erupted at Qazigund in Kulgam district. The clashes were also reported from Wathoo village of Shopian.

In Palhallan hamlet of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, a pro-freedom rally was taken out by women of several villages during which they shouted slogans in favour of Islam and Azadi. A similar rally was also held at Botengoo in Sopore area of the district. At Bandipora, violent clashes erupted between youths and forces in Kaloosa area. Reports said that peaceful protests were also held at several areas of Bandipora.

In Kupwara, people of Lalpora alleged that forces are ‘harassing’ locals by one or other way for taking in part in protests. “In the latest incident, a shell was thrown by forces in a nullah behind the police station. The shell exploded with a bang and created fear among us,” said the locals. However, police denied allegations of harassment.

Meanwhile, Zonal Police Headquarters Kashmir, in a statement issued said that curfew has been lifted from whole of the Kashmir valley except two Police Stations of Nowhatta and M R Gunj in Srinagar. “Greater movement of private, passenger vehicular traffic and people was observed in major areas of the Valley including Srinagar city today,” the statement said. It said barring few minor stone pelting incidents, the overall situation remained peaceful and under control throughout the Valley till filing of this report.

“The stone pelting incidents were reported from Batamaloo and Bagh-e-Mehtab in Srinagar, Chankipora and Main Chowk, Sopore, Mehmoodabad in Dooru and Kaloosa in Bandipora where miscreants in their attempts to disturb the situation pelted stones on police and security force deployments,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, in view of the shutdown relaxation call, the shops and other commercial establishments opened in Lal Chowk and many other areas of Srinagar after 6 pm today. The rush of private vehicles also increased and there was no report of any untoward incident from civil line areas of Srinagar at the time of filing this report. (GNS)

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