Govt. All Set To Prevent Sopore March

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Restrictions in City, North Kashmir Likely Today

SRINAGAR: Authorities have decided to impose restrictions in parts of Srinagar city and North Kashmir towns of Baramulla on Friday to prevent any march towards restive Sopore announced by the separatist amalgam.

‘Sopore Chalo’ call was issued by Hurriyat and JKLF leaders jointly following string of mysterious killings in Sopore over the past one month.

Police launched a crackdown on separatist leaders and activists a day before the proposed march, rounded up scores of them and placed top leaders under house arrest.

Top police officials in Srinagar and Baramulla said that no one would be allowed to march towards Sopore on Friday. “We will ensure no one reaches Sopore,” they said. 

Sources in the district administration said that after a high level meeting held here, the government decided to impose Section 144 in the areas coming under the jurisdiction of five police station areas of the old city of Srinagar. 

However, sources divulged that no restrictions will be imposed on religious gatherings or on Friday prayers in the Srinagar city and that people would be allowed to hold congregational prayers on Friday sans any restriction. “The decision to impose restrictions in the old city was taken at a high level meeting here. It was observed that to avoid any damage to the public property and human lives, restrictions over protest demonstrations shall be imposed,” sources said.

Confirming the reports DC Baramulla said, government has decided to impose restrictions in some areas of the district. He, however, added that no restrictions would be imposed on religious gatherings and people will not be stopped in any part of the district from taking part in congregational prayers being held on the first day of Ramazan.

The separatist leaders in Kashmir in a joint protest program have urged people to march towards Sopore wherein six persons have been killed by the unknown gunmen since past month. Earlier, a strike call was given by the pro-freedom camp on Wednesday which crippled life across Kashmir.

Sopore continues to simmer due to the killing spree. With government declaring the involvement of militants into such incidents, separatists have been alleging the role of Indian agencies in such acts.

Meanwhile Hurriyat Conference (G) spokesman, Ayaz Akbar said that senior party leaders including, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Altaf Ahmad Shah besides syed Ali Geelani have been placed  under house arrest.” 

“In order to foil Sopore march, the authorities have started massive crackdown against our leaders and workers particularly in Sopore. Police are raiding the houses of our activists,” he added.

Hurriyat (M) spokesman said that Mirwaiz Umar Fraooq was placed under house arrest by police Thursday evening. 

Condemning the police action, the spokesman said “despite restrictions, Mirwaiz would lead a march to Sopore” and urged people to reach the Apple Town.

JKLF chairman Yasin Malik was held by police last night ahead of Sopore March and has been in Kothi Bagh police station, a party spokesman said. Condemning the Malik’s detention, the spokesman termed it “as undemocratic, oppressive and uncivilized act of rulers”.

Democratic Freedom Party chairman, Shabir Ahmad Shah, has been detained by police and shifted to undisclosed location, a party spokesman said. The chairman of National Front, Nayeem Khan, has also been detained.

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