Shutdown in Kashmir on Afzal’s death anniversary

Updated on Feb 10, 2020 02:08 AM IST
Shops, markets and other businesses mostly remained closed in the capital Srinagar on Sunday and public transport stayed off the roads.
Security personnel stand guard at a blocked road, in Srinagar, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.(PTI photo)
Security personnel stand guard at a blocked road, in Srinagar, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.(PTI photo)
Hindustan Times, Srinagar | By

A general strike called by Kashmiri separatists to mark the seventh death anniversary of Mohammad Afzal Guru, convicted for his role in the 2001 attack on Parliament and hanged this day in 2013, hit normal life in the Valley on Sunday.

Shops, markets and other businesses mostly remained closed in the capital Srinagar on Sunday and public transport stayed off the roads. Mobile internet services were suspended early on Sunday amid concerns over possible violence during the shutdown sponsored by separatist groups, and were restored in the evening, officials said.

2G internet services were restored in the region on January 25, more than five months after the authorities snapped all communication facilities in the Valley following the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution, which offered special status to Kashmir, on August 5 and passage of provisions to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories -- J&K and Ladakh

On Sunday, the authorities also imposed mild restrictions in some parts of Srinagar to prevent protests. According to officials at the police control room, the “partial restrictions” were imposed in north zone (Old City) and in parts of Kralkhudl Maisuma, a stronghold of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF); Shaheed Ganj; Karanagar and the city outskirts of Soura.

“We were doing mild screening of people and pedestrians and then allowing them to go. There was deployment of security forces also. It was only to prevent protests, mischief and subversive activities,” said senior superintendent of police, Srinagar, Haseeb Mughal.

Mughal added that the situation remained peaceful. “There was a shutdown of shops, some due to Sunday and some otherwise and public traffic was also less. However, private vehicles were plying normally,” he said.

Residents said security forces erected barricades and blocked roads with concertina wire in the Old City and eased the restrictions in the afternoon.

“When I attempted to go into Old City in the morning, there were concertina wires blocking the road at Khanyar. By the afternoon I saw the obstructions were removed as the situation remained peaceful,” said auto driver Firdous Ahmad.

The shutdown also affected normal life in north Kashmir’s Sopore, the home town of Afzal Guru. “Though the shops were closed, the overall situation was calm in Sopore,” a police official in the district said.

Guru was hanged and buried in Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013 after being convicted of being part of a conspiracy to attack Parliament in 2001. The founder of JKLF, Maqbool Bhat, was hanged and buried inside Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984, after being convicted in a murder case.

On Friday, JKLF, a banned outfit , and the Hurriyat Conference, an umbrella group of separatist organisations, called for a general shutdown on February 9 and 11 to mark the death anniversaries of Guru and Bhat. Separatist organisations have been calling for shutdowns on the two days every year.

A case was registered against JKLF late on Friday for alleged attempts to incite violence and disturb the law and order in the Kashmir Valley.

“Police has taken cognizance of the activities of banned organisation JKLF for their attempts to incite violence and disturb law and order situation in the Valley,” news agency PTI quoted a police spokesperson as saying.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Topics
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, August 09, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now