The security forces on Friday again enforced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar and other major cities and towns of the Valley to hold back protests.
All roads leading to Srinagar’s city centre Lal Chowk and other important locations were blocked by the security forces by laying concertina barbed wire and placing bunker-vehicles on these at dawn. Soon, J&K police and Central paramilitary forces’ reinforcements fanned out to enforce the security restrictions
The curbs under Section 144 CrPc were announced by the police through mike-fitted vehicles at first light, that asked residents not to venture outside. No weekly congregations were allowed at the city’s Grand Mosque, the Hazratbal shrine and other major places of worship on the fourth consecutive Friday. However, residents were able to offer the Friday namaz in their locality mosques.
Soon after the prayers were over, irate crowds clashed with the security forces at a few places, including Anchar, Batamallo, Hawal, Nowshehra and Rainawari in Srinagar and some parts of north and south Kashmir. The security forces swung bamboo sticks and fired teargas canisters to fight back stone-pelting mobs at these places, witnesses said.
Curfew-like restrictions were imposed on the entire Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu region of J&K on the night of August 4, ahead of home minister Amit Shah’s moving a resolution and a bill in Parliament seeking abrogation of the state’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution and splitting it into two Union territories respectively.
However, the restrictions were later eased in parts of the Valley as well as Jammu in a phased manner. Yet normal life has in the last 26 days remained disrupted across the Valley, with markets closed and public transport off the roads. While landline telephones have become functional in some parts of the Valley, mobile telephones and all Internet services continue to remain suspended since August 5.