SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown, sporadic clashes and official celebrations in garrisoned places marked the 67th Republic Day of India in the Valley.
Thousands of policemen and paramilitary troopers manned barricaded roads in the city and urban areas in rural districts to prevent anti-India demonstrations.
Since 1990, when the anti-India insurgency erupted, the Valley looks like a ghost town on India’s Independence Day and Republic Day. Pro-freedom groups call for observing these days as ‘Black Days’.
‘Rashid invited to R-Day function but put under house arrest’
MLA Langate and Awami Ittehad Party chairman Engineer Rashid was put under house arrest and at the same time invited to official celebrations on the R-Day, his party spokesman told a news agency. He said hoteliers in Lal Chowk have been ‘warned of dire consequences’ by police if they host Rasheed’s press conference.
The government also snapped Internet services till the official functions were concluded, which is part of the “security measures” the government takes ahead of these days. Last year, however, Internet and cellphone services remained open.
Despite heavy military presence, clashes were witnessed in downtown area of Srinagar, and many areas of North Kashmir.
A group of youths unfurled two Pakistani flag at Hajin town in Bandipora. Local said a flag each was hoisted on a bank building and a mobile tower. Police later removed the flags.
While the state administration organised functions at the district headquarters, government offices and markets remained closed in the Valley.
The largest function was held at Jammu, where governor NN Vohra unfurled the Indian flag.
In the Valley, the divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon took salute at Bakshi Stadium.
President Peoples Democratic Party Mehbooba Mufti also attended the function, possibly the first official function since her father, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s death.
She has confined herself at her Fairview residence since then. Clad in a deep-blue pheran and wearing black shades, she sat in the front row beside former chief minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah.