A day after most-wanted separatist leader Masrat Alam was arrested from Srinagar outskirts, the J-K government on Tuesday imposed a curfew in several towns and villages in anticipation of trouble from the separatist supporters.
Vehicles mounted with public address system on them announced curfew in downtown Srinagar for second consecutive day on Tuesday. Many districts and major towns in north and south Kashmir were also brought under curfew and severe security restrictions were enforced in sensitive areas and known trouble-spots.
Schoolteachers, students and government employees were, however, allowed to commute to their offices in the curfew-bound areas after proper identification. In the afternoon, curfew was relaxed in phased manner in many areas.
Protests, however, broke out in north Kashmir’s Baramulla town, 60 km away from Srinagar. Youth raising pro-freedom slogans defied curfew and pelted stones at the cavalcade of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mansoor Untoo near Azad Gunj area this afternoon.
“Some miscreants defied the curfew restrictions at Cement Bridge in Baramulla and attempted to disrupt peace by resorting to heavy stone pelting. To bring the situation under control, one miscreant suffered injuries,” said a police spokesman.
The injured, identified as Mohammad Yousuf Channa, was shifted to Srinagar. The police resrted to aerial firing and tear-smoke shelling to quell the protesters.
Four protesters were also injyred in south Kashmir’s Samboora area in a clash with security forces. The police used force to control a mob in the area.
The police have described the arrest of Alam, chief of the separatist Muslim League and Hurriyat Conference general secretary, as “big achievement and a setback to the separatists.”
Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who left for New Delhi on Tuesday for medical treatment, said: “I am pained to learn about Masarat Alam's arrest, but arrests and detentions cannot suppress our freedom struggle.”
Alam was brain behind slogans like “Go India Go” and provocative songs like “Ragda”. Alam in the past four months drafted many shutdown calendars and introduced protests on the social networking sites.
Alam is the general secretary of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani.
Sources in Jammu said Alam was likely to be moved to the winter capital.
He had been at the forefront of organising protests, sit-ins and marches in the last four months that has seen more than 100 people being killed in Kashmir. Alam had announced the Quit Kashmir campaign of Geelani's group in June this year.
He was released from jail in June but jumped bail and immediately went underground to evade arrest.
"He was arrested from the house of his maternal uncle in Wagunt area in Srinagar district," a police official had confirmed Monday evening.
Geelani reacted predictably: "I am pained to learn about Masarat Alam's arrest, but arrests and detentions cannot suppress our freedom struggle."
Shops, educational institutions, public and private transport, banks, post offices and other businesses remained shut in Srinagar because of curfew though authorities did not restrain movement of pedestrians who showed proper identification.
"Our intention is that life must return to normal, and that is why civilian movement is being allowed after proper identification," a police officer said in Srinagar.