Govt Disallows Muharram Marches

Srinagar: Authorities on Monday clamped curfew in 11 police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure in view of the eighth day of Muhurram, even as complete shutdown was observed across the Kashmir valley.

A police official said the police station areas in which the curbs on the movement of people have been imposed are Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Maisuma, Ram Munshi Bagh, Kralkhud, Shaheed Gunj, Karan Nagar and Batamaloo.

The official told news agency CNS that prohibitory orders would remain in force on Tuesday and Wednesday on the main streets alone. He said that the Alam, Tazia and Zuljanah processions would, however, continue in the interior localities. “All the Muharram processions, which have been permitted in the last 27 years, would be allowed in restricted areas with limited presence of the local population,” he said. He asserted that the main procession of the 10th day of Muharram (Aashura) would not be allowed.

Police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) deployments put up concertina wires and other barriers to disallow human passage towards the procession venue. Private transport plying on the roads was returned from several entry points. Groups of protestors, nonetheless, managed to surface at Batamaloo and other spots while condemning the “ban.” They alleged that the Mehbooba Mufti government was “carrying forward the practice of interference with the Muslim faith.”

Meanwhile, normal life remained affected for the 94th consecutive day in the rest of the Valley following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with forces on July 8. The unrest, which has claimed 94 lives and left thousands of others injured, is in its fourth month as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport continued to be off the roads.

Reports from Kralteng Sopore town of North Kashmir said that after a stone-pelting incident Army men caused massive damage to property and residential houses. Locals however said that no stone-pelting was going on in the area when Army went on rampage and barged into the houses to threaten people.

Locals said that  scores of army personnel barged into the residences of Abdul Khaliq Halwai and Abdul Gani Matoo at Khushalmatto and Abdul Khaliq Kondu at Kraleteng and smashed their windows and doors. “The army men broke whatever they found in these three houses and keep on ransacking for more than an hour,” locals alleged adding “we first thought there was some encounter taking place as army men had cordoned the whole area.” They (army men) harassed the inmates and even women were not spared,” they said.

Clashes erupted in old town Baramulla in north Kashmir after government forces raided the area.

Witnesses and reports said that pitched battles were fought in the lanes and bylanes between government forces and protesters. They said that clashes began after forces raided the area. Locals said that youth resorted to heavy stone-pelting while government forces fired pellets and tear-smoke shells to disperse them.

In South Kashmir according to locals government forces damaged at least five power transformers when people tried to participate in a pro-freedom march at Lever Pahalgam area of Anantnag district. Eyewitnesses and reports said that in a bid to foil the ‘Lever Chalo’ freedom march government forces had sealed all the roads leading to the village while people from different villages including Khatsu, Khotas, Sallar, Wullarhama, Paryen and Jaigund were stopped to move towards the venue. The infuriated people staged a massive protest while youth resorted to stone-pelting. Government forces used pellets and tear-gas canisters to disperse the agitated protesters. During the clashes according to locals government forces fired bullets on the power transformers causing damages to them. “The armed forces targeted five power transformers. They have suffered extensive damage and now the area will reel under darkness for weeks,” said a local from Levar area.

Hundreds of people according to reports participated in a unity-cum-pro freedom rally organized by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH), Bandipora in Kehnusoo area of the northern district.

People from Kanibathi, Watlab, Ashtangoo, Zoorimanz and adjoining villages attended the rally organized in Jamia Masjid Kehnusoo.

Tehsil President of the, Danish Malik, and other religious scholars addressed the rally that continued till afternoon. Later participants marched from Masjid to main Kehnusoo Chowk.

Speakers urged people to remain steadfast and united for the “cause of freedom”.

Meanwhile, reports from Nadihal Bandipora said that CRPF personnel caused massive damage to private property after a stone-pelting incident.

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