Srinagar: The security apparatus across Kashmir was tightened on the eve of August 15, which this year marks India’s 70th independence day. A heavy deployment of police and paramilitary troopers sealed all entry and exit points of capital Srinagar by placing road blocks and barricades.
Pedestrians and commuters were stopped for security checks at various places including Residency Road, Rambagh, Batamaloo and Bemina, where they had to undergo frisking with metal detectors after their identity cards were checked. Sniffer dogs were also used to search for possible explosives in vehicles and sideways.
The venue for the state celebrations, Bakshi Stadium, has been cordoned off by government forces to avert any untoward incident. A very thin movement of people was observed in the stadium vicinity pedestrians preferred to take alternative routes to reach city centre Lal Chowk. However people visiting Lal Chowk and its adjourning areas were also scarce.
Hilal Ahmad Mir, a shopkeeper from Gogji Bagh, said he did not take his usual route to his shop. He said that security arrangements near the stadium were so tight that even a fly could not pass by them. “Vehicles that tried to take the Amar Singh College route leading towards Bakshi Stadium were sent back from a long distance.”
Shameem Ahmad, a commuter from Sopore, said security arrangements were almost similar in north Kashmir as the national highway was full of security forces. “Our identity cards were checked at many places including Sangrama, Pattan and Parimpora,” he said.
Shopkeepers at various places also lowered their shutters before dusk. “It’s been happening from the beginning. Who would put his life at risk under such circumstances when everything is disturbed? Since Burhan Wani’s killing, being safe is the first priority,” a shopkeeper from Batamaloo said.
Meanwhile, curfew-like restrictions were imposed by government authorities in Maharajganj, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Khanyar and Safakadal areas of downtown.
The government had already closed schools and other educational institutions following apprehensions of students carrying out pro-Pakistan rallies on Monday, which was its independence day, and holding anti-India demonstrations in the aftermath of the killing of three militants and two civilians in south Kashmir.