Srinagar: Strike and curfew-like restrictions brought life to a grinding halt in Kashmir for the second successive day.
In downtown and parts of civil lines in the summer capital, Srinagar the authorities imposed restrictions as a “precautionary measure” to prevent any untoward incident following a strike called by resistance leadership against any move to weaken the Article 35-A of the constitution.
About six petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court (SC), demanding scrapping of the Article. However, mainstream political parties, including National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Communist Party of India (M), Kashmir Bar Association, traders and civil society have filed counter petitions, demanding continuation of the Article.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq and Mohammad Yaseen Malik, had called for a two-day strike from Thursday against alleged attempts being made to abrogate the Article. The petitions challenging the Article will come up in the SC on Friday.
All gates of historic Jamia Masjid in the downtown remained closed since early Thursday morning to prevent people from entering there.
‘To prevent any law and order problem and in the interest of safety and security of general public and property, restrictions under Section 144 CrPC remained imposed for the second day in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of police station Safa Kadal, M R Gunj, Khanyar, Nowhatta and Rainawari. Similar restrictions remained imposed in parts of areas under the jurisdiction of police station Kralkhud and Maisuma,’ police said.
However, the situation on the ground was entirely different as hundreds of security force personnel remained deployed to strictly implement the restrictions. Repeated announcements were being made, directing people to remain indoors in view of curfew imposed in these areas.
The main Nallahmar road from Chattabal to Khanyar also remained closed for any traffic or pedestrian movement. Security forces have closed the road with barbed wire and by parking bullet proof vehicles in the middle at Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Bohri Kadal and Khanyar. However, the main road to S K Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) was open though only patients and medical staff were being allowed after property checking their identity cards and other documents.
All roads leading to historic Jamia Masjid, stronghold of chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) Mirwaiz Omar, remained closed at Nowhatta, Gojwara and Rangar stop. Even the media persons were asked to take alternative routes to reach the worship place. Similar restrictions also remained imposed in Rainawari, Mallakha and Kathidarwaza crossing.
Additional security forces also remained deployed in the areas under police station Maisuma in the civil lines and Kralkhud in the old city. Paramilitary forces and state police personnel have been deployed in strength on Moulana Azad road, being used by VIPs, including the Governor, his advisors and top bureaucrats to reach civil secretariat, seat of the government.
Forces have also been put under alert elsewhere in the city to prevent any demonstration.