SRINAGAR: The march to Lal Chowk called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) on Tuesday could not take place as government forces set up barricades and detained those attempting to take out the march. JRL leader Muhammad Yasin Malik, who had gone into hiding two days ago to evade arrest, managed to reach Lal Chowk with a group of supporters but was quickly taken into custody by police.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq also tried to march to Lal Chowk but was detained as soon as he stepped out of his home. He was taken to Nigeen police station and kept there for the day.
The ailing Syed Ali Geelani was kept detained at his Hyderpora home. Government forces locked the gates of his house.
A spokesman for Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) said, “Evading arrest for two days, Yasin Malik managed to reach Lal Chowk this morning. He arrived at Masjid Sharif Koker Bazar before Nimaz-e-Fajr.”
The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation and the Kashmir Chamber of Industry and Commerce also tried to lead marches to Lal Chowk but were stopped from doing so by government forces deployed around the city centre.
A spontaneous shutdown was observed in Kashmir Valley in continuation of the protest against Sunday’s killings of civilians and militants in Kulgam. Government authorities restricted mobile internet to 2G speeds and sealed all routes to Lal Chowk with barbed wires. A large number of police and paramilitary forces were deployed to foil the march. Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC were imposed in some city areas such as under police station Kothi Bagh and at Lal Chowk.
The Amira Kadal bridge was sealed with barbed wires and so was Hari Singh High Street (HSHS). Pedestrians were directed to take the Budshah Bridge route.
Restrictions on movement were also imposed at Jhelum bund, Koker Bazar, Court Road, Regal Chowk, Exchange Road, Maisuma, Haji Masjid, KMDA, and Abi Guzar. The footbridge on river Jhelum leading to Lal Chowk was also closed and nobody was allowed to cross it from the Lal Mandi side.
Earlier, traffic police had issued an advisory that no traffic would be allowed from Regal Chowk to Amira Kadal during the day.