Srinagar: The government imposed curfew-like restrictions on Wednesday in the Old City to foil Eidgah ‘chalo’ call given by Hurriyat Conference (M) to commemorate the death anniversary of its two slain leaders—Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone.
Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC were imposed “as a precautionary measure” in seven police station areas of the Old City, a police official said. The police station areas where restrictions were imposed included Khanyar, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Rainawari, M R Gunj, Kralkhud and Zadibal.
Mirwaiz Farooq, father of Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was shot dead by gunmen inside his home on this day in 1990 while Lone fell to bullets of gunmen during a commemoration function of the late Mirwaiz at Martyrs’ graveyard Eidgah in 2002.
Although Hurriyat used to hold a rally every year on May 21 at Eidgah to pay homage to the two slain leaders, the authorities have been imposing curbs on these rallies following the 2010 mass uprising in the Valley.
Here in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, shops, business establishments and educational institutions were shut, while government offices and banks recorded thin attendance, eyewitnesses said.
Public transport was off the roads. However, private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were plying normally.
In Old City, CRPF troopers and police were deployed in strength to foil Eidgah rally. Wearing riot gear and carrying automatic rifles, the forces maintained a tight vigil and confined the residents indoors. Almost all the roads leading to the Martyrs’ graveyard, where Mirwaiz and Lone are buried, were sealed with barricades and spools of razor wire. At many important crossings, forces had used armoured vehicles to restrict the movement of civilians.
Reports of shutdown were received from other districts of the Valley.
In north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, most of the shops and business establishments closed, while public transport was off the roads. In the volatile Sopore town, a posse of troopers and policemen were deployed to prevent any protests.
A partial shutdown was also witnessed in the neighbouring Bandipora and Kupwara districts, in response to the Hurriyat (M) call. Similar reports were received from Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama districts of south Kashmir.