A tight security blanket has been put in place ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Kashmir visit after militants made a violent comeback in Srinagar on Saturday.
The security forces have erected barricades at entry points of Srinagar. Several checkpoints within the city limits have been set up to carry out random checks of bikes and vehicles.
It is part of the security forces' drive to sanitise the routes to be taken by the Prime Minister and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi and their entourage. Both the leaders are scheduled to arrive in Srinagar on June 25 for a two-day visit. The PM is likely to inaugurate 11.5 km rail tunnel in south Kashmir on June 26.
The venue of Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre on the banks of the Dal lake, where the PM will address officials on June 25, have been declared out of bound for civilian traffic.
"There will be diversions and restrictions from June 25 from 11 am to June 26 up to 11 am. All the residents of Harwan Nishat-Shalimar-Nehru Park and its adjacent areas are advised to follow these directions strictly," said a press communiqué issued by Srinagar zonal police headquarters.
As part of the multi-layered security arrangements, sharpshooters will maintain vigil near the venue.
There is heightened caution among the security agencies after militants successfully reached Srinagar's commercial hub Hari Singh High Street area and shot dead two cops with pistols on Saturday. Two pistol-wielding militants were involved in the attack. Kashmir's largest militant group Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack.
The security agencies had gathered inputs earlier this week about militants' attempt to sneak into the city with the intention to carry out an attack. On Thursday night, there were late night meetings of security agencies to thwart militants design during the PM's visit. On Friday, the security forces did cordon off several areas and checked the localities in Lal Chowk but failed to nab any militant.
All separatist leaders, including Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, have called for a shutdown on June 25.
"If Manmohan Singh will implement those promises made by Indian first prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru at Srinagar's Lal Chowk, the people will not observe any shutdown on his visit," said Zafar Akbar Bhat, a constituent of the moderate Hurriyat-led by the Mirwaiz.