Srinagar: The Indian Army’s arrival in Kashmir on October 27, 1947, was mourned with a shutdown of business, markets, schools, colleges, and transport across the valley on Friday. The resistance leadership had called, as it does every year, for a complete strike on what it calls the “black day” in the history of Kashmir.
In Srinagar, all shops and business establishments remained closed everywhere. Movement of vehicles was, however, witnessed on roads in Batamaloo, Lal Chowk and Dalgate areas.
To prevent people from holding any protest demonstrations, the authorities had imposed strict restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC in areas of Nowhatta, MR Gunj, Safa Kadal, Rainawari, Khanyar, Kralkhud and Maisuma, a police official said.
The deployment of government forces including police and CRPF was enhanced and people barred from having congregational prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid for the fifth consecutive Friday. Hurriyat (M) chief and the valley’s chief cleric, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was detained inside his Nigeen residence since Thursday evening.
As a precautionary measure, the Northern Railways suspended train services on the Baramulla to Banihal route for the entire day.
Outside the civil secretariat, long queues of buses and trucks were stationed for the Durbar Move to Jammu. Labourers were seen loading trunks and boxes all day.
At Parimpora, from where the new General Bus Stand now operates, buses were seen plying to parts of northern Kashmir, intermittently.
Reports coming from Baramulla and Kupwara said that people observed a partial shutdown while traffic plied on roads, but less than usual.
In Sopore, people remained indoors and similar reports were received from Pattan and Palhallan.
“There was partial shutdown in Handwara, Kupwara and Baramulla town,” eyewitnesses said. “Educational institutions remained closed.”
Similar reports were received from Bandipora and Budgam where shops were partially closed and thin movement of traffic was witnessed.
In Shadipora area near Sumbal in Bandipora district, protests were held amid shutdown after a fresh brad-chopping incident reported on Thursday night.
Reports said that scores of protesters, mostly women, blocked the Bandipora-Srinagar highway in protest against braid-cutting incidents.
Talking to Kashmir Reader, one of the locals said that this was the second such incident in the past three days.
“The braid of 30-year-old woman was chopped off at her home by unknown persons here, following which people took to the streets and held protests,” he said.
A police team from Sumbal police station headed by SHO Mehboob Banday reached the spot. “He (SHO) assured the protesters that whosoever is involved in the incident will be taken to task. He said that a joint committee of head of mohalla committees and police officials had been formed to look into braid-chopping incidents in the area,” a local said.
After the police’s assurance, protesters lifted the blockade and traffic movement was restored on the highway.
A complete shutdown was observed in several parts of south Kashmir, where transport also stayed off the roads. Reports from Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts said that people remained indoors and observed a complete shutdown on the call of the resistance leadership.
A complete shutdown was observed in Pampore but vehicles plied on the highway.
There were no reports of any clashes or stone-pelting from anywhere in the valley. “The situation across the valley was calm,” a police official said.
A Hurriyat Conference (M) spokesperson said that Syed Ali Geelani remains under detention at his Hyderpora residence while his deputy, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, is detained at his Baghat residence.