The state capital remained under a curfew on Friday ahead of a march proposed by separatist leaders towards the famous Hazratbal shrine, four weeks after militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir.
Senior Hurriyat leader and chairman of the moderate Hurriyat faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is expected to lead the ‘Dargah Chalo’ march from his residence at 2pm.
The leaders had called on locals to hold congregational prayers at the holy place by the Dal Lake.
The move comes amid an appeal to people by Syed Ali Geelani, who chairs the hardliner Hurriyat faction, to march towards the Hazratbal from early Friday morning “in large numbers”. This prompted authorities to enforce strict restrictions on movements in places across the city since the wee hours.
Besides barricades and barbed wires, security personnel were deployed at the commercial centre of Lal Chowk and nearby areas.
On Thursday, Geelani exhorted people residing around the Dal and the Nigeen lakes to march towards the shrine in shikaras and boats.
The separatist leadership further stepped up their schedule of protest, extending the shutdown call till August 12, saying there will be no relaxation after 6 pm—as was the case in the last three days on alternate days starting August 6.
Apart from the regular shutdown, the leaders asked people to “assemble and occupy local chowks and centers from Asar to Magrib in the vicinity of mohallas, villages and localities” on Saturday.
On August 8, the protest calendar asked people to “block all roads towards and around Civil Secretariat Srinagar, DC and Tehsil offices and ensure that no employee is able to join the duty on the day”.
The calendar also laid out schedule for cleanliness and sanitation drive, protests by women and playing of Islamic and pro-Azaadi songs in mosques.
Two deaths, earlier this week, pushed the region to the brink just as it was limping back towards normalcy.
The state police arrested 349 persons and detained 122 more as it launched a crackdown against “hooligans and miscreants”.
Several protest rallies broke out in different parts of the Valley on Thursday, with scores injured in clashes with security personnel. Local media reports said nearly 80 persons were injured.