Dargah Sealed, Prayers Disallowed

SRINAGAR: Authorities Friday sealed off Dargah Hazratbal to disallow march to the sacred place even as curfew and protest shutdown continued across Kashmir on Friday for the 28th consecutive day. 
The city roads wore a deserted look while people in number of areas were seen burning tyres on roads to register their protest against the civilian killings. 
Reports from various areas said that a strict curfew was imposed to foil a proposed march to Hazratbal shrine by separatist leadership.
Reports said that in the wake of Hurriyat call to people to offer Friday prayers at Dargah, police and para-military forces had been deployed in strength in and around Hazratbal and the Dal Lake. 
Witnesses said that Dargah had been sealed as police had put up concertina wires at the entrances of the shrine. “There was escalated deployment of forces around the shrine and roads leading to it,” said an eyewitness.
Congregational Friday prayers could not be held at Dargah Hazratbal as people were stopped from reaching the revered shrine. 
Last time it was in 2010 when authorities sealed the shrine barring people to offer Nimaz there in wake of the separatist call for Dargah march that year.
Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was arrested after he tried to march towards Hazratbal from his nearby Nigeen residence. 
“Police had blocked the entrance of the lane leading to residence of Mirwaiz,” said a Hurriyat spokesman. He said that the Mirwaiz started the march from his residence at 2 pm but was arrested shortly after he tried to break the police cordon. Reports said that Mirwaiz Farooq was taken to SP Office Hazratbal.
Reports said that amid strict curfew hundreds of people on Friday staged a pro-freedom protest at Khanqah-e-Sokhta Nawa Kadal after government forces foiled their attempt to march towards Dargah Hazratbal. Hurriyat (M) leader Masroor Abbas Ansari, who was leading the march, was detained by the forces. 
A massive protest was also reported from Safakadal area where large number of women participated in the march.
Reports from Ikhrajpora and Gangboug areas of Amirakadal constituency said that police had to use force to quell protesters shortly after the culmination of Friday congregational prayers.
Reports from Central Kashmir’s Budgam district said that police had sealed all the entry and exit points to prevent people from marching towards Srinagar. The Central Imam Bargah was completely sealed by police while senior Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hasan Al-Musvi along with his party activists was detained when he tried to come out from his Budgam residence.
A major protest rally was organized by people that started from Jawalapora and ended at district headquarter Budgam where agitated protesters damaged police barricades and removed barbed wire laid by government forces to restrict the movement of the people. 
At least four persons from Shunglipora Budgam were injured when protesters at Khag area clashed with police. An eyewitness told CNS that after 26 years, he saw such a huge procession in the area. Some protesters attacked Police Station Khag with stones while forces personnel retaliated with tear-smoke shelling.  Protest marches were also reported from Makhama Beerwah, Razwein and other areas of the Budgam district. Police used tear-gas shelling to disperse protesters in Chadoora and Makhama Beerwah. Police sources said that at least 25 protesters were injured during the clashes in Chadoora. 
Reports from Khan Sahab said that a huge procession after prayers attacked the house of MLA Khan Sahab Hakim Yasin and damaged it. They also attacked the office of a police officer and the local hospital. Police said they have damaged six ambulances.

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