Prayers disallowed at Jamia Masjid, restrictions clamped in downtown

Prayers disallowed at Jamia Masjid, restrictions clamped in downtown
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Srinagar: Following the killing of two top Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants in Srinagar on Thursday, the government on Friday sealed and imposed strict restrictions in parts of Srinagar. Prayers at the Jamia Masjid were also barred, for the second consecutive Friday.
LeT commander Abu Ismail and his associate Abu Qasim were killed in a brief encounter at Aribagh area in Nowgam at about 4pm on Thursday.
Officials said that restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC were imposed in areas falling under five police stations of Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safakadal, MR Gunj, and Rainawari to prevent protests.
“There was massive deployment of forces in our area and it was not easy to buy essentials from the market,” said a resident of Nowhatta, where the historic Jamia Masjid is situated.
“No one was allowed to move towards the Jamia Masjid,” he added.
Hurriyat (M) chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was put under house detention. He leads prayers at the Jamia Masjid.
“Time and again Jamia Masjid locked down,” Mirwaiz tweeted. “Downtown people caged by the government raising the ‘law and order bogey’.”
Criticising the government, Mirwaiz said in another tweet, “It reflects their paranoia of the fearlessness and courage of the people of downtown city whose resolve they cannot break.”
Residents of downtown areas said that government forces were deployed in increased number and barricades of barbed wires were installed at various points.
The government had also closed all educational institutions in Srinagar district and other areas of the Valley to prevent protests. Besides, train services were suspended across Kashmir Valley.
The Hurriyat (M) castigated the government for its hypocrisy on closure of schools in Kashmir. “Repeatedly closing down educational institutions for fear of student agitation, when last year huge concern was shown for their education, exposes the hypocrisy and doublespeak of the authorities,” it said.
In Maisuma, scores of people held a protest against the National Investigative Agency (NIA), killings of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and detention of pro-freedom leaders and killing of militants.
The protesters carried placards and banners seeking the release of political prisoners and a halt to NIA raids in Kashmir.
The NIA registered a case of alleged funding for “subversive activities in Jammu & Kashmir” on May 30 and has since arrested seven top resistance leaders who are in judicial remand in New Delhi. A top businessman, a photo-journalist, and a farmer have also been arrested by the NIA.
A police official said that the situation remained “peaceful” across the Valley on Friday.

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