Govt announces curfew in all valley districts, suspends for 72 hours broadband and mobile services, deploys drones and choppers to keep an eye
Srinagar: The entire Kashmir Valley will be under curfew on the day of Eid-ul-Azha on Wednesday. Not even in the worst years of militancy was such a drastic measure taken in Kashmir. The state has also decided to deploy helicopters and drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) to keep watch and to foil any possibility of the ‘March to UNO’ called by the pro-freedom leadership on the day of Eid.
On Tuesday the government suspended all mobile phone networks except post-paid services of state-owned BSNL, and blocked broadband internet services, including of BSNL. Mobile internet remains suspended since more than two months, and outgoing calls also remain blocked on pre-paid mobile phones.
An official said the police had asked telecom and internet service providers to shutdown services from Saturday afternoon for 72 hours. Work in newspaper offices was disrupted by the shutdown. Kashmir Reader could not update its online edition.
An official said the phone network might resume after 72 hours and the step was taken to ensure “nothing untoward happens on Eid.”
The police had asked people in several areas of Srinagar to offer Eid prayers in their respective mosques and not to organise congregational prayers in the open. Against this police diktat, the pro-freedom groups led by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik asked people to offer Eid prayers at 8:30am across the Valley.
A high-level security meeting was convened at Police Control Room, Srinagar, on Tuesday to put in place security arrangements ahead of the Eid-ul-Azha festival. The meeting was attended by the top brass of J&K Police, civil administration, intelligence agencies and Central Armed Paramilitary Forces.
In the meeting it was decided to impose curfew throughout the Valley to prevent mass gatherings, and the ‘UN Chalo’ march called for by the pro-freedom leaders. It was also decided to put all places under aerial surveillance by pressing unmanned aerial vehicles and helicopters, fitted with surveillance equipment, into service.
The already placed high-resolution video cameras at vantage positions will monitor the streets and markets throughout Srinagar city and other major towns of the Valley for real-time monitoring of the situation as well as for recording events, the officers decided.