Why 13th Friday Haunts J&K Govt With ‘Bad Omen’

Srinagar: After a few days of uneasy calm, the sudden surge in protests Friday coupled with action by police and security forces against protesters, leaving scores wounded, one of them critically, has unnerved the state government, which was otherwise trumpeting the gradual return of normalcy.

Call it fate or coincidence, the unrest has started to haunt the Peoples Democratic Party led government, on the day which corresponds with 13th consecutive Friday when Kashmir has been on the boil and congregational Islamic prayers were not allowed at some major Masjids including the Grand Mosque of Srinagar.

It was reliably learnt that unnerved by the day’s developments, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti will this weekend call a high level meeting to take feedback and to decide future course of action in consultation with her close aides, including some PDP leaders, a journalist and a former police official.

Sources said Mehbooba was not satisfied with the measures taken to restore law and order, and that today’s incidents have only strengthened her belief over loopholes in police and civil administration.

Sources said during a high level meeting held here this evening, the government top brass said that much against the expectations the Friday didn’t pass off peacefully while eyebrows are being raised over police failure to tackle the unrest, despite  being given a “free hand.”

Otherwise the government was so hopeful of normalcy that Chief Minister earlier this week attended a tourism event in New Delhi asking people to visit Kashmir.

Sources said when the top brass was briefed about the day’s developments, one of the PDP leaders asked his colleagues if Friday the 13th proved unlucky? He was however explained by his colleague that “Friday the 13th has a different connotation and had nothing to do with Kashmir situation.”

Officials said while south Kashmir, which has been handed over to Army under operation 'Calm Down', remained largely peaceful, protests erupted elsewhere from north to central Kashmir, including the capital city.

While post prayers, clashes erupted in Sopore and Bandipore areas of north Kashmir, by evening massive shelling was going on in Srinagar, where a youth was critically wounded in Syedpora area when police opened pellet fire on protesters.

The youth, who ran into coma was rushed to SKIMS for specialized treatment while doctors termed his condition critical. Heavy clashes also erupted in the evening on Saida-Kadal-Rainawari stretch when a Muharram procession was teargassed resulting in clashes.

Sources said by the time meeting to review situation was underway, a flash arrived that mobs had tried to attack a police station in Beerwah while around one dozen people were wounded in the incident.

 “All this has unnerved the government and it has been decided that there needs to be detailed review of situation and to find out the loopholes for remedial measures,” said a senior official in know of the matter.

Friday the 13th is considered by many an unlucky day in West. It occurs when the 13th day of the month in the Gregorian calendar falls on a Friday.







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