Srinagar: Curfew is likely to be imposed in many major towns and districts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday to prevent possible protests on the first anniversary of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged and secretly buried in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9 last year.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that series of meetings were held in Srinagar and Jammu to formulate a strategy to prevent protests during the three-day shutdown called by Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani. Geelani has appealed for protests and shutdown to press for return of mortal remains of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru.
“While some officials were of the view that limited restrictions under section 144 be enforced, others expressed apprehensions of widespread protests,” the sources said.
“Besides parts of Srinagar, curfew will be enforced in some areas of Sopore and Baramulla. However, in other areas, restrictions will be put in place,” the sources said.
In Srinagar, the clampdown will be more intense in Safa Kadal, Nowshera, Nowhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Kawdara, Bohri Kadal, Nawab Bazaar and other areas of downtown.
Curfew will also be strictly enforced in uptown areas of Maisuma and Lal Chowk as JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik has announced that he would lead a march to Lal Chowk on February 9. Malik has gone into hiding to escape arrest after police launched a crackdown on JKLF leaders and activists and detained many of them in the past few days.
In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, sources said, strict curfew will be imposed in Sopore, Palhalan and old town Baramulla to foil any attempt of people to take to streets and hold anti-India demonstrations. All roads leading to Seer Jageer, the native village of Guru in Sopore town, will be sealed in the wee hours Sunday, the sources said.
“Army has also been requested to provide all assistance in maintaining law and order situation in Baramulla district,” they said.
A senior official of the district administration, wishing not to be named, told Kashmir Reader that all necessary steps to maintain law and order in wake of the three-day shutdown will be taken.
Meanwhile, authorities in twin districts of Bandipora and Kupwara in north Kashmir have ordered imposition of Section 144 Cr PC in Bandipora and Sonawari tehsils from Sunday morning prohibiting the assembly of four or more persons. The order will remain in force up to February 11.
Similar restrictions have also been imposed in Kupwara town, Trehgam, Kralpora, Sogam, Lalpora, Drugmulla, Handwara town, Langate town and Kralgund from February 9 to 11.
“Besides, Section 144 Cr PC, promulgated by District Magistrate Shopian up to February 9 has been extended for two months more,” an official spokesman said.