Highway sealed, 248 arrested
SRINAGAR: The government on Friday intensified the already existing Covid-19 restrictions to prevent public gatherings on the death anniversary of Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone, two of Kashmir’s most respected and influential political leaders.
Farooq was killed in 1990, at his residence, by unidentified gunmen, while Lone was killed a decade later, at the commemoration of Farooq’s death anniversary at Eidgah martyrs’ graveyard in Srinagar.
Eyewitness said that not only police, but also paramilitary were deployed on the roads of Srinagar, Baramulla and Kupwara since the wee hours and the deployments remained throughout the day.
Police and forces personnel were seen on the roads, not only asking people to go back but also imposing fines and other punishments on those who were seen out on the roads without valid reason.
The government also sealed the highway connecting Srinagar to north Kashmir’s Baramulla and Kupwara districts, as were roads leading towards Downtown.
Movement towards the Eidgah martyrs’ graveyard where the slain leaders — Farooq and Lone — are buried was not allowed, they said.
People with movement passes and those having emergencies were, however, allowed to cross the barricades set up across the city, the officials added.
People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone, Abdul Gani Lone’s son, paid tributes to his father in a series of tweets.
“Remembering my father Abdul Gani Lone who was killed on this day nineteen years ago. Killed for expressing his ideas. Killed for speaking the truth. Truth is as much of a rarity now as it was then.
“But what gives me some solace is that those who opposed him and created that false narrative that culminated in my father being killed — that crowd some of them still alive were better dead than alive. They saw what my father was mercifully spared from seeing,” Sajad Lone said.
The Mirwaiz at the time of his killing was the chief cleric, leading sermons at the Jamia Masjid Srinagar, one of the largest mosques in the Valley. Until a few years ago, the parties of both the leaders would organise gatherings and pay homage. But, for many years now, the government has been barring them from holding any such meeting.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar, visited several places in Srinagar to review lockdown arrangements. He was accompanied by IG CRPF Srinagar, DIG CKR, SSP Srinagar and other police and security forces officers.
During the comprehensive tour, IGP Kashmir visited Nishat, Fore Shore road, Habbak, Lalbazar, Zadibal, Nowhatta, Bohri Kadal, Rajouri Kadal (MirWaiz Manzil), Sakidafar, Qamarwari, Parimpora, Hyderpora, Baghat, Sanat Nagar and Pantha Chowk areas.
Also, police said they arrested 248 persons, lodged 96 FIRs, and realised fine to the tune of ?1,38,240/- from 1,055 people for violating the guidelines/rules throughout Kashmir valley. Besides, 5 shopkeepers were also booked by police in Budgam for violating Covid-19 norms.
The special drive against the violators of Covid-19 guidelines/rules continued throughout all the districts of Kashmir Valley to ensure that people adhere to SOPs/ guidelines to curb COVID-19 pandemic, the police handout added.