SRINAGAR: A complete shutdown was observed in Kashmir valley on Thursday in response to the call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to protest the killing of a civilian and two local militants by government forces in Fateh Kadal area of Srinagar.
Government forces installed barricades on roads in several Srinagar areas and strict restrictions were imposed to prevent gatherings of people. Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, forbidding assembly of more than four people, were imposed in five police station areas: of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal and MR Gunj, a police official said.
According to reports from the old city, deployment of forces was increased and all entry and exit points to downtown areas were sealed.
All shops, fuel stations, private offices and business establishments were shut for the day in Srinagar. Little traffic was witnessed on the city roads.
Internet service had already been snapped or reduced to 2G in several parts of Kashmir valley. In Srinagar, low-speed internet was restored at about noon on Thursday.
Reports from old city areas of Nawa Kadal, Rajori Kadal, Fateh Kadal, Khanyar, Baba Demb, Nowhatta, Eidgah, Rainawari, Saraf Kadal, Darish Kadal and Safa Kadal said that streets wore a deserted look amid curfew-like restrictions.
At several places in the city, government forces stopped pedestrian and vehicular movement to check for identity cards and for frisking of people.
As per reports, media persons were stopped and told to back off by government forces in several areas of the old city. They were told, “Don’t you remember yesterday’s thrashing?”
Amid the shutdown, thin vehicular traffic including private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws was seen plying on roads in areas of Lal Chowk, Goni Khana, Moulana Azad Road, Sonawar, Residency Road, and Batamaloo.
In the late hours of the day, minor clashes took place between people and government forces in areas of Eidgah, Fateh Kadal and some downtown localities. Reports of stone-pelting were received from these areas.
In south Kashmir, all shops and business establishments remained closed in Shopian, Anantnag and Pulwama districts. There was also no traffic plying on the roads, reports said.
In central Kashmir’s Budgam district, people observed a complete shutdown and all shops remained shut for the day. No clashes were reported during the day and a few shops opened in the late-afternoon hours, reports said.
North Kashmir areas also wore a deserted look, amid strict restrictions imposed by authorities in all sensitive areas. Shops remained closed and little traffic was seen on the roads.