Curbs Re-Clamped In Hawal-Zadibal As Curfew Ends

SRINAGAR: Even as life resumed in Old Srinagar on Saturday after two days of strict curfew, authorities re-imposed tough restrictions in the Hawal-Zadibal belt and adjoining areas after renewed clashes.

Though curfew was not formally announced, authorities said prohibitory orders were enforced down from Gojwara to Hawal, Alamgari Bazaar, Sazgari Pora and adjacent areas, with large contingents of paramilitary forces fanning out to restore calm.

“In view of law and order situation and to avoid breach of peace and tranquillity besides damage to life and property, restrictions have been imposed under Section 144 Cr. PC on the movement of public and transport in the jurisdiction of police station viz, Zadibal and Nowhatta with effect from 0600 hours on December 02, 2012 till further orders,”District Magistrate, Srinagar said.

Tensions had flared up afresh this morning when belligerent crowds gathered on both sides just as shops began to open and traffic to ply.

Each side accused the police of having supported the other and using harsh tactics during curfew.

Trading furious brickbats with each other, the crowds also targeted the police.

Forces quelled stone-pelting by breaking up crowds with tear gas and cane charges, removed people from streets and barred pedestrian and vehicular movement.

The situation in other parts of Old Srinagar was marked by usual business and traffic activity, with schools re-opening and banks and offices functioning again after two days of curfew.

Authorities had clamped down on a large swath of the city on Wednesday evening after disturbances in the Hawal-Zadibal area following protests over insults to religious figures, and tension and shutdown in Nauhatta against police raids and arrests the previous night.

Nine police precincts of Zadibal, Nauhatta, Safa Kadal, Maharaj Gunj, Khanyar, Rainawari, Nigeen and Lal Bazaar had been placed under curfew to prevent group clashes from spreading.

This evening, the police said that it was monitoring the Zadibal situation closely, and would continue restrictions tomorrow as well if the need arose.

“But if the situation improves, restrictions will be lifted completely,” a senior police officer said. Observer News Service

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