Srinagar: Early Friday morning, without any announcement, a large number of police and paramilitary forces arrived in various parts of old Srinagar, then began laying barbed concertina wires at all entry and exits points of areas of Rainawari, Nowhatta, Naqshband Sahab, Nawa Kadal, Hawal, Rajouri Kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Khanyar and Safa Kadal.
Instead of a shutdown, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for protests after weekly congregational prayers on Friday. The call prompted state authorities to impose curfew-like restrictions in areas falling under the jurisdiction of five police stations in downtown Srinagar, including at Nowhatta, where the historic Jamia Masjid was kept locked and no prayers were allowed.
Although no resistance leader had called for a shutdown, all shops and business establishments remained closed in the entire old Srinagar. Some movement of private vehicles was allowed by authorities during the first half of the day.
A heavy deployment of police and paramilitary forces patrolled the streets of old Srinagar and restricted people’s movement.
“The government forces imposed restriction in downtown without any announcement. We were unaware of this. We were going to office when we found barbed wires blocking the roads. The authorities not allow any local bus to operate in Nawa Kadal area,” said a government employee, Mukthar Ahmad, who lives in Nawa Kadal.
He added, “We could not reach office on time as we had to take another route.”
School students also faced the same problem. Many had to take alternative routes and many had to go back home.
A student of Islamia Higher Secondary School said that she had to return home and could not attend school. “I was in a local bus and when we reached near Nawa Kadal, we found that forced had installed barbed wire on the road. The bus driver changed the route and I could not reach school on time,” she said.
Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who delivers the sermon every Friday at Nowhatta’s Jamia mosque, was placed under house detention yet again.
The situation remained peaceful during the day but some reports suggested that minor clashes erupted in Lal Bazar, Soura, Saki Daffar, Darish Kadal, and Nawa Kadal.
In Pampore, hundreds of people offered in-absentia funeral prayers for the slain civilians and militants at Shopian and Srinagar. The prayers were held at the Khanqah-e-Moula after the congregational Friday prayers. Witnesses told Kashmir Reader that hundreds of people led by Mirwaiz Moulana Riyaz Ahmad Hamdani assembled in the lawns of Khankah-e-Maula.