- A day of strike, siege and protests across the Valley, bovines slaughtered in many areas to defy ban
Srinagar: Kashmir observed a complete shutdown on Saturday while the government imposed a ‘curfew’ in the old city of Srinagar to prevent protests and the slaughter of cows – both of which have been happening since the directive of the Jammu division of the High Court, asking for enforcement of the ban on slaughter of bovines.
The shutdown was observed in response to a strike call issued by both the Hurriyats and the JKLF against the HC order.
In old Srinagar, the police and CRPF imposed curfew-like restrictions in Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Rainawari and Khanyar. Concertina wires and barricades were laid on roads leading to these areas. The movement of people was severely restricted and many people, who were accompanying patients, were seen pleading with the government forces to allow them to reach hospitals.
At Gaw Kadal, Habba Kadal and adjoining areas, people protested against the court directive but the police and CRPF dispersed the crowd by using teargas; the latter responded with stone-pelting and the skirmishes continued for some time. Government forces also restricted public movement in Maisuma, the bastion of JKLF chief Yasin Malik. Markets were deserted and traffic mostly remained off the roads. Schools and colleges were closed while even government offices witnessed thin attendance.
On Friday, a series of protests, including slaughter of bovines on roads were reported from many areas in the Muslim majority state.
Most of the pro-freedom leadership, including Chairmen Hurriyat Conferences Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF Chief Yasin Malik were put under house arrest.
Amidst a complete shutdown in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, protests were held in various areas including Beehama, Lar, Kangan and Sonamarg in against the beef ban. In Kangan, policemen were deployed in market places at Nagbal, Safapora, Tawheed chowk, Beehama chowk, Lar and Manigam to prevent protests. Shops, commercial establishments and educational institutions were closed and traffic remained off the roads. Reports said that clashes between security forces and protestors were witnessed in Baroosa, Ganderbal.
In north Kashmir, a complete shutdown was observed in Baramulla, Sopore and Bandipora districts against the order to impose a beef ban in Kashmir. Amid protests, three bovines were also slaughtered in Kupwara.
Scores of people blocked the Kupwara-Sopore road near Drugmulla and staged a peaceful protest. At Kralpora, people slaughtered a cow and distributed the meat among the public. A cow was also slaughtered in main chowk Kupwara and main market Vilgam in the same district. A local trader, Haji Gulam Mohammad, at Kupwara said that people collected money from traders and others and bought and slaughtered a cow to send out a signal against the ban.
At Pattan, a large number of people, mostly youths, took to the streets and tried to block the national highway. Government forces fired teargas canisters to disperse them. At Narbal too, on the Srinagar-Gulmarg road, youths staged a protest against the beef ban.
Reports also said that youngsters staged protests in Palhalan area of north Kashmir. Protesters tried to block the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road but the police and CRPF deployed there used teargas to disperse them, resulting in some clashes.
Reports from the border town of Uri said that people of Boniyar, Chandanwari, Salamabad, Mohra, Bandi and main town Uri also observed a complete strike – something which people said had happened here after around five years.
A complete shutdown was also observed in entire south Kashmir. At Kokernag, Shopian, people slaughtered a bovine as a mark of protest. Traffic was off the roads and government offices wore a deserted look.
Mushtaq Ahmad, Asim Shah, Owais Farooqi, Riyaz Bhat and Mohammad Imran reported from north and south Kashmir