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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Srinagar: separatists accuse govt of taking people hostage

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, November 30, 2012
First Published: 20:01 IST(30/11/2012) | Last Updated: 20:03 IST(30/11/2012)

Separatists on Friday accused the government of having the entire population as hostage on flimsy grounds and curbing religious rights by stopping people from prayers as curfew in old parts of Srinagar entered third day on Friday.

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"The government has turned Srinagar into a battle zone. Thousands of people are hostage in their own houses for third consecutive day. People could not get the essentials of life and offer Friday prayers at masjids and shrines," said moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

The Mirwaiz was not allowed to lead on Friday prayers at his traditional pulpit in old city's Jamia Masji at Nowhatta area.

Nine police stations from old part of the city are reeling under stringent curfew for third consecutive day.

Since last Friday, there was curfew for five days.

The city was clamped with curfew, since Wednesday evening, following separate incidents of group clashes, detentions of youth and protests triggered by alleged blasphemy against Islam.

The Mirwaiz called upon all communities to show unity.

"The need of the hour is to foil the evil designs of the agencies who want to create fissures in the Muslim society," said Farooq.

The Hurriyat chairman is holding a Sunni-Shia coordination committee meeting on December 2.

Meanwhile, hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani claimed that "unwarranted curfew on flimsy grounds smacks of conspiracy".

"One unfounded incident was blow out of proportion by the government. The continuous curfew and putting people through hardships have raised doubts and suspicion," said Geelani, who claimed he was not allowed to pray for 34th consecutive week on Friday.

Describing the curfew as unnecessary and painful for thousands of people living in the old parts of Srinagar, Geelani said, "The police's nocturnal raids and ransacking of houses (in old city) is highly condemnable. Kashmir is ruled more by New Delhi's home ministry than Omar Abdullah."

Geelani added, "seeds of suspicions are sown deliberately between the communities here."

Meanwhile, the curfew marred normal life in Srinagar city. There was thin traffic on roads and very few shops opened even in areas where there was no curfew.

People, particularly students appearing for board exams and travelling outside the state complained of hardships while negotiating with the security personnel in curfew-bound areas. Patients also complained of difficulty to reach hospital in the old city.

A police spokesman, however, told the Hindustan Times that tickets and exam Roll No. slips were considered as curfew passes.

"Patients were also allowed to move," said the spokesman.

Sources said the government will decide whether to continue with the curfew or not on Saturday late in the night. There was no relaxation in any area in the city.

"There was no untoward incident. All areas under curfew were peaceful," said the police spokesman.


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