Srinagar: A shutdown was observed Thursday across the Kashmir Valley in response to pro-freedom camp’s call against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Most of the shops, commercial establishments, petrol pumps, banks and other institutions in this summer capital of the state remained closed while public traffic was off the roads, reports and eyewitnesses said.
Hundreds of CRPF troopers and policemen were deployed in major towns and districts of the Valley to thwart any militant attack or public protests during Modi’s visit.
This was Modi’s fourth visit to Jammu and Kashmir after assuming the office of Prime Minister in May. “Will be in Srinagar on Diwali, 23rd October & will spend the day with our sisters & brothers affected by the unfortunate flood,” Modi had tweeted.
Here in this capital city, tough security arrangements were made to ensure trouble-free visit of the Prime Minister. The historic Lal Chowk, commercial hub of this capital city, and its adjacent areas wore a deserted look due to the shutdown, even as the paramilitary troopers and cops maintained strict vigil and subjected people to frisking and identification checks.
“The motorcyclists were in particular frisked by cops at check points in several areas of Srinagar,” a Kashmir Reader photographer said.
Surprise checks were also carried out by police on the entry and exit points in this capital city. Security around vital installations was also beefed up.
Stringent security measures were also put in place in downtown Srinagar, where cops had erected barricades and checkpoints to keep a tab on the movement of people.
Several pro-freedom leaders including Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik senior Hurriyat Conference Jammu and Kashmir leaders Shabir Ahmad Shah and Nayeem Khan and chairmen of parallel Hurriyat factions Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were under house arrest.
Meanwhile, reports of shutdown were also received from other districts of the Valley, with all shops and business establishments closed, while traffic was off the roads.
Several pro-freedom groups, including Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference and JKLF had called for a shutdown Thursday against the PM’s visit to Srinagar.
BJP supporters took out a rally from SK Park to Partap Park.