SRINAGAR – Authorities on Wednesday evening clamped indefinite curfew on a major chunk of Old Srinagar following group clashes in downtown.
The order was issued by the district magistrate late in the evening when several areas had been seething throughout the day over police raids and arrests, and insults to holy names.
Areas under the police precincts of Nauhatta, Maharaj Gunj, Safa Kadal, Khanyar, Rainawari, Nigeen, Lal Bazaar, and Zadibal in old Srinagar, and the Parimpora precinct far uptown, were placed under the order, with deployment of police and paramilitary forces to seal off streets and thoroughfares.
Authorities said that the step was taken as a precationary measure to prevent group clashes from spreading to other volatile city areas.
A portion of the old city had already been shut down today over the arrest of nearly a score of youth during nocturnal raids, while demonstrations flared up in the Zadibal against insultingly-placed sacred inscriptions on a foreign product.
But tension gripped the area when a small procession from Zadibal, protesting the insult, reached Hawal and some protestors asked shopkeepers there to down shutters. People from two groups entered into an argument and soon came to blows, eyewitnesses said.
The quarrel escalated into a clash, with opposing sides hurling stones at each other.
Additional contingents of police and paramilitary forces were rushed in when intervention by local cops failed to restore calm.
Late this evening, the district magistrate said that areas falling in the jurisdiction of nine police stations had been placed under curfew to prevent the clashes from continuing and spreading to other localities.
On ground however, the curfew was not implemented till late evening resulting in chaos and rumor mongering. Even police officials seemed perplexed by the surprise announcement.
Deputy commissioner of Srinagar has announced curfew in old city. I dont know why exactly. But I am trying to implement the orders on ground, superintendent of police north city, Tahir Saleem was quoted as saying
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