- Mirwaiz, Geelani remain under house arrest; protests, clashes in some areas, curfew-like restrictions in downtown
- Prayers not allowed at Jamia Masjid
Srinagar: To prevent protests called by the resistance leadership and the United Jehad Council against the US administration’s decision to declare Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a “global terrorist”, curfew-like restrictions were imposed in downtown Srinagar on Friday and congregational prayers disallowed at the Jamia Masjid for the second consecutive Friday.
Street clashes did break out, however, in Habba Kadal, Noorbagh, Safa Kadal and Darish Kadal areas of downtown after congregational prayers at local mosques. Clashes were also reported from Lal Chowk and Reshi bazaar areas of Anantnag, and in Sopore and Hajin towns after congregational prayers.
The administration had on Thursday announced strict restrictions in areas under the jurisdiction of five police stations — Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, MR Gunj and Safa Kadal. Residents of these areas said that a heavy deployment of police and paramilitary CRPF was made since morning and blockades and concertina wires laid at many places.
“We were not even allowed to get groceries from the market. Patients were the worst hit, as no vehicle was allowed to ply on the roads,” said a resident of Nowhatta.
CRPF men reportedly did not even allow journalists without curfew passes to move about. Freelance journalist Saqib told Kashmir Reader that he was going to Lal Chowk when CRPF men stopped him at Khanayar. “They told me to return as I was not carrying a curfew pass. They did not allow me to cross the barricade, even though I showed them my press identity card,” Saqib said.
Shops, restaurants and all other business establishments remained closed in the downtown areas while public transport was also off the roads.
Prayers were once again not allowed at the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta. Locals told Kashmir Reader that all lanes, by-lanes and roads leading to the mosque were sealed and government troops had locked all the gates of the historic mosque.
Hurriyat Conference (M) leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq remained under house arrest for the eighth consecutive day. He was put under house arrest on last Friday, when Jumat-ul-Vida prayers were not allowed at the Jamia Masjid for the first time since the days of the Dogra kings.
The Hurriyat (M) spokesman said that policemen did not allow Mirwaiz to step out of home and informed him that he was still under house detention.
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani also continued to remain under house detention at his Hyderpora residence.
JKLF leaders and activists staged a peaceful protest at Budshah Chowk and Lal Chowk against the US administration’s decision to designate Salahudin as a “global terrorist”. Raising pro- freedom and anti- India slogans, protesters led by JKLF zonal president Noor Muhammad Kalwal held a sit-in and later dispersed peacefully.
Meanwhile, minor stone-pelting was reported from Habba Kadal area and more serious clashes from Noorbagh, Safa Kadal and Darish Kadal areas.
In Anantnag, intense clashes between government forces and protesters broke out soon after the Friday prayers. Local said that government forces fired teargas shells and stun grenades at stone-pelting youth, resulting in a complete shutdown in and around Lal Chowk area. Clashes also erupted in the old town and Reshi Bazar area of the district.
“Forces resorted to heavy teargas shelling on the protesters. The protesters pelted stones at the forces in these areas,” said a local.
Reports of minor clashes also came from north Kashmir’s Sopore town. No injury was reported during these clashes.
Clashes erupted between youth and forces in Bandipora’s Hajin after the prayers.
Eyewitness said that scores of youth took out a rally and when they reached near army’s Goodwill School, they pelted it with stones. Later army chased them away. A local said that army soldiers beat two motorcyclists near office of the Municipal Committee Hajin.