Normal life was affected in Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar on Thursday, in the wake of strict curfew imposed in nine police stations following group clashes, protests and detentions on Wednesday. The government has decided to continue curfew for Friday too.
Srinagar district magistrate Baseer Ahmad Khan said the curfew was imposed due to eruption of clashes between two groups on Wednesday. "We have apprehensions that these clashes might spread and create a law and order problem," Khan told news agencies in Srinagar.
The security forces in hundreds were manning streets in the city on Friday and no civilian was allowed to step out on roads.
In many volatile areas, streets were blocked with concertina wires and iron barricades. The curfew in nine police stations threw life out of gear in Srinagar with most areas, where curfew was not imposed, witnessing thin traffic and poor attendance in offices.
While schools had declared a holiday in the city, Kashmir University postponed all exams scheduled till November 30.
The authorities imposed curfew for three days in old parts of the city since Friday. A police spokesman told the Hindustan Times that curfew will continue in nine police stations on Friday too. "The day passed peacefully without any clash or protest," said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, separatists have asked people to maintain calm. "The agencies are hell bent to create tension among the Kashmiri Muslims and break the mutual bonhomie existing for ages. As a part of their (agencies) well-planned conspiracy, they want to break the social fabric of Kashmir as it suits their vested interests," said moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, while asking people to be peaceful.
The Mirwaiz accused the police of "random arrest of dozens of youth and ransacking of houses and beating of inmates in the old city".
JKLF chief Yasin Malik said people with vested interest were stoking a sectarian divide. "Protesting against any blasphemy is a right of every Muslim but it is not reasonable that Muslims, rather than condemning the criminal act of the company, start fighting among themselves," said Malik.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani asked people "to defeat nefarious designs of agencies sowing seed of division in society.
The Valley was on a boil on Wednesday with protests over the reports that Chinese slippers allegedly were found carrying name of an Islamic figure on it. The situation in interiors of old city also turned volatile when there were group clashes between two communities. The protesters also attacked security forces with stones.
Wednesday's clashes came in the backdrop of brewing tension in old city's Nowhatta area following detention of several youths on charges of indulging in stone pelting on Wednesday night.