‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’: AAC rally foiled, Restrictions in downtown

‘Hafta-e-Shahadat’: AAC rally foiled, Restrictions in downtown
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SRINAGAR: Curfew-like restrictions continued for the second day on Sunday in the downtown Srinagar, where Awami Action Committee (ACC) had announced to take out a rally on the eve of death anniversary of Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq, father of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who heads his faction of Hurriyat Conference and is also the patron of AAC.
Restrictions were imposed in downtown besides some areas in civil lines and old city in Srinagar as a precautionary measure in view of the “Hafta-e-Shahdat” (martyrs’ week) programme of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq was assassinated by unidentified gunmen on May 21, 1990 in his Nigeen house. Later more than 60 people were killed when government forces opened fire on funeral procession of Mirwaiz Farooq near Islamia College. Later on this day in 2002, gunmen also killed another Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone, founder of Peoples Conference (PC) when he was leaving Eidgah after paying tributes to Mirwaiz. Abdul Gani Lone is father of Sajjad Gani Lone, minister in the coalition government from BJP quota and Bilal Gani Lone senior leader in the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat.
The main gates of historic Jamia Masjid, stronghold of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, remained closed as a precautionary measure to prevent any demonstrations.
Police said restrictions under Section 144 CrPC had been imposed in the areas falling under five stations of M R Gunj, Khanyar, Safa Kadal, Rainwari and Nowhatta in the down town.
The AAC had announced to take out a rally from Mirwaiz Manzil Rajouri Kadal. Large number of government forces remained deployed around the Mirwaiz Manzil to prevent people from assembling there.
However, the situation on the ground was entirely different as government forces deployed in large numbers had closed all roads with barbed wire, directing people to remain indoors.
All roads leading to Jamia Masjid were closed with barbed wire at several places, including Rangar stop, Hawal and Gojwara and by parking bulletproof vehicles in the middle. Forces could also be seen deployed in the Jamia market.
The entire Nallahmar road wore a deserted look with only government forces wearing bulletproof jackets and leg-guards and holding automatic weapons and lathis in their hands, implementing restrictions.
Forces had closed the road at Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Gojwara, Malaratta, Bohri Kadal and Khanyar with barbed wire. Bulletproof vehicles were also deployed on bylanes to prevent any movement. People living on both sides of the Nallahmar alleged that they were not being allowed to move out of their houses by the security forces. Even the local bread makers could not open their shops while milkmen and vegetable vendors could not come from outskirts for the second day on Sunday.
Similar restrictions were also been imposed in Khanyar, Rainawari and Malkha. However, the people were being allowed to go to Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial hospital, Rainawari. However, the main road to S K Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) via Eidgah was open though only patients and para medical staff was being allowed. However the road was closed in the morning for some time after forces had to burst teargas shells to disperse demonstrators at Safa Kadal.
Large number of paramilitary forces and J&K police personnel remained deployed to maintain law and order in areas under police station Kralhud in the old town and Maisuma.