Valley Under Siege:Govt. Enforces Curfew To Disallow ‘Break’

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SRINAGAR: In an apparent bid to outwit the resistance leadership, the State Government Thursday enforced 13 day long curfew with more harshness after the Hurriyat factions asked people to resume their routine activities after 2 PM in order to stock the essentials.

The joint platform of separatist leadership in its protest calendar issued on Wednesday had asked people to resume their routine activities after 2 PM on Thursday but the police backed by paramilitary central forces went into a hyperactive mode and were seen strictly enforcing the curfew in major parts of the city and towns across Kashmir.

Hundreds of people who had ventured out of their homes after 13 days with a hope to do quick shopping were seen being hounded back by gun totting police and CRPF personnel, reports quoting eyewitnesses said. 

As people were preparing to shop for essentials this afternoon, announcement were made on loudspeakers by police that there is no deal in the curfew and “any one found venturing out will be dealt sternly,” reports said.

Though there was some movement of people in civil lines areas of the city including Lal Chowk but here also police erected barbed wire barricades cutting off several key routes.

The Residency Road, Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Koker Bazar and Court Road were completely sealed by forces and no shopkeeper was allowed to open his shop even as many of the shop-owners had reached city centre. 

In areas like Rajbagh, Jawahar Nagar, Magarmal Bagh and Maharaja Bazar where curfew is not strictly implemented, all shops remained closed.

Earlier, there were reports that the government will ease restrictions in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley following Hurriyat announcement. However a police spokesman in a statement issued in the afternoon said: “There will be no relaxation in curfew anywhere in the Kashmir Valley. The curfew and restrictions will remain strictly in place throughout the day till further orders.” This was seen as a direct response to Hurriyat call.

Reports from south Kashmir said that curfew remained in force while in some areas of north Kashmir including Baramulla Town the road side vendors were seen selling vegetables but shops remained closed. 

Observers said the state government imposed curfew to bar people from buying essential commodities in order to break their resolve.

The curfew has created widespread dismay amongst people eagerly expecting a break. “We thought there won’t be any curfew on Thursday, as there wasn’t any strike call from united Hurriyat from 2pm onwards. But we were put to hardships,” said Muhammad Imran, a resident from Old Srinagar city.

 “Imposition of curfew on a day when we had not announced strike action amounts to acceptance of defeat by the state government,” said a lower rung Hurriyat leader. 

“We don’t understand the policy of the present government. It is hell bent on adding to the hardships of common people.

A police official said imposition of curfew was a precautionary measure to avoid trouble. “Whenever we feel there is an apprehension of law and order problem, curfew is being imposed,” the official said.

 

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