Srinagar/ Baramulla: Curfew-like restrictions continued in Kashmir for the fourth consecutive day on Monday and drones were deployed to monitor public movement to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Restrictions under Section 144 CrPC stayed imposed in almost all areas of the valley, with intensified security arrangements being made to enforce the restrictions. The administration had on Sunday announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till March 31 as part of its efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Jammu and Kashmir police used Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) to disseminate the message to people that they should not not venture out of home.
In a video shared from the official Twitter account of J&K Police, police personnel can be seen spreading the message via the drone asking people to stay inside and not step out if it’s not necessary.
The administration also decided to completely seal Jammu and Kashmir’s borders with Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh as a precautionary measure.
Government forces had already installed barbed wires at various entry and exits points of old-city areas like Rainawari, Nowhatta, Maharaj Ganj, Khanyar, Safa Kadal, and Maisuma. Commercial centre Lal Chowk stayed closed and deserted with all shops and business establishments closed and no vendors allowed on the roads.
Police on Monday also pressed drones into service in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir to monitor the movement of people.
In north Kashmir, reports said all shops in Baramulla, Sopore, Pattan, Tangmarg, Gulmarg, Sheeri, Boniyar, Uri, Rohama, and Dangiwocha areas in Baramulla district remained closed while public and private transport was almost off the roads. The law enforcement agencies had installed barricades on most of the roads including on the Baramulla-Srinagar highway and on Baramulla-Kupwara and Baramulla-Sopore roads. However, in some rural areas, people were seen doing their normal work and most of the shops were open.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Gulam Nabi Itoo ordered the police to take action against people who were not following government orders. The DC told Kashmir Reader, “Inputs are that despite the lockdown, people in large numbers are gathering in villages. Immediate action is required by sending strong message through PRIs and numberdars/ chowkidars. Announcements can also be made through loudspeakers in mosques and vehicles.”
SSP Baramulla Abdul Qayoom visited several areas during the day to tell people to stay in their homes, or else police will take action against them. Local sources said that police used a JCB machine to stop vehicles near Kanispora on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. Similarly, police vehicles were used to block other roads in the district.
In Kupwara, all markets stayed shut and no public or private transport was allowed for the second consecutive day. Police teams were seen patrolling roads and markets to ensure the lockdown.
Reports from district Bandipora said that most markets remained closed and public transport was off the roads. However, in several rural areas, people were seen doing their business normally. The deputy commissioner Bandipora said that strict action will be taken against the violators of government orders.
Strict restrictions were imposed in central Kashmir’s Budgam district where roads were kept out of bounds for both public and private transport. On various roads connecting major villages, police and other security agencies had installed barricades and laid concertina wires. As per eyewitnesses, government forces did not allow people to move anywhere in Magam, Budgam, Beerwah, Khan Sahab, Chrar-e-Sharief, Chadoora, Khag and many other areas in Budgam district.
In south Kashmir, similar restrictions were enforced by a large number of police and paramilitary forces that were deployed on main roads where barricades had been installed.
With inputs from Mushtaq Ahmad