Srinagar: The shutdown and restrictions in the restive Kashmir valley continued for 111th day on Thursday.
Normal life remained paralysed due to shutdown and restrictions imposed by the authorities at various critical places to foil separatist-sponsored strike call.
Meanwhile, police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have been deployed in all district headquarters, including Srinagar city, to foil the separatists call for protest as extended till November 3.
Hundreds of forces personnel were deployed in strength in five police station areas of Srinagar’s Old City – MR Gunj, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Rainwari and Khanyar – since early morning. There was however civilian movement without any disruption in all these areas. But the Jamia Masjid area, in view of tomorrow’s March call, was placed under restrictions by forces.
In Civil Lines and uptown area of the Srinagar, the routine movement of private transport and pedestrians was once again seen since early morning but all the shops, commercial establishments and educational institutes were closed. Owing to Wednesday’s attacks by masked youth, less numbers of vendors were visible in Lal Chowk.
A police spokesman described the Thursday situation as ‘normal’. “The situation across the valley remained normal, although a minor stone pelting incident was reported from Pulwama till filing of this report. Moharram processions were taken out in Srinagar, Budgam and Baramulla,” a police spokesman said.
“For the hassle free movement of the traffic, adequate deployment of police and security forces was made at vulnerable points in Srinagar city, in main towns as also on the roads, lanes and by-lanes connecting different places,” he said.
At least 90 civilians have been killed and thousands wounded in over three months of clashes between protesters and security forces, sparked by the killing of a field commander of separatist militant group Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani by security forces on July 8.
The separatists, who accuse the Indian security forces of using excessive force, have repeatedly extended their shutdown call. The current shutdown programme is scheduled to last till November 3.
Small traders, street vendors and transporters, who survive on their daily incomes, have been hit the hardest.
Reportedly, the traders are suffering losses of Rs.1.35 billion every day.
Truck, Rickshaw Set Ablaze In Srinagar
Two days after police arrested 15 persons for torching private vehicles in Kashmir Valley, unidentified persons on Thursday torched two more vehicles in Srinagar.
A truck was torched in Parimpora locality while an auto-rickshaw was set ablaze in Saida Kadal.
“Both the truck and rickshaw suffered damages due to the blaze,” reports and sources said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) central Kashmir Range, Ghulam Hassan Bhat said a case has been registered in this regard while the investigation is ongoing.
“The auto-rickshaw (JK01H-3931) that was torched by miscreants at Saidakadal has suffered partial damage. We have lodged a case vide FIR number 115/2016 under section 435 against the unknown offenders,” said a police official from Rainawari police station.
Pertinently, Bhat in a presser had informed that twenty-two people have been identified for their involvement in 13 fire incidents of vehicles. “Fifteen accused were arrested, while seven are absconding,” Bhat had said.
Masked Men Armed With Petrol Bomb Hurled Attack Vendors
Masked youth hurled a petrol bomb on vendors in North Kashmir’s Sopore town on Thursday as attacks on the street and other vendors intensified in the strife-torn Kashmir valley.
According to the reports, two masked persons who were riding a motor bike stopped near sub-district hospital Sopore where scores of vendors had set their carts.
“The bomb fell on a cart setting ablaze the merchandize,” eyewitnesses said adding that the bikers fled the spot.
Confirming the incident, a police official said that a vendor received minor injuries in the attack. “A case has been registered and investigation is going on,” he said.
On Wednesday, masked youth had attacked vendors in Hari Singh High Street were attacked with stones while some youth turned the carts upside down. Youths even attacked moving vehicles with stones. Similar incident was reported from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Even on Wednesday, masked youth yet again attacked vendors outside hospital in Pulwama.
Earlier this month youth had also attacked vendors in Batamaloo area of Srinagar city with a petrol bomb, however, police had claimed that it was a fire cracker that was set in air by some miscreants.
Meanwhile, in Chawalgam area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district militants reportedly fired in air resulting in chaos and confusion in the area. A police official said that bullets were fired in air by militants to enforce shutdown as the shops were open in the area.
2 Hard Core Stone Pelters Arrested From Jammu
Two youth who police claim, are involved in many stone pelting cases and arson cases were arrested from Jammu.
A special team of Srinagar police arrested two hard core stone pelters Humair @ Nelcha and Zahid Rasool Shiekh of Nowhatta from Jammu.
The duo is allegedly involved in many stone pelting cases as also in the cases of arson.
Both of them were evading arrest. They are involved in case FIR numbers 43/2016 under section 341, 435 RPC of Police Station Khanyar, 14/2010, 85/2011, 74/2012, 96/2015, 107/2016 under section 307, 148, 149, 336, 435, 427 RPC, 120 B of Police Station Nowhatta.
Residents Fear For Life as Police On Arrest Spree
At least three persons allegedly involved in ‘pro-freedom protests’ were arrested during the nocturnal raids conducted by the forces on Wednesday in Tangmarg area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
According to KNS correspondent, three persons identified as Khursheed Ahmad Ganaie, son of Abdul Ahad Ganaie, Mohammad Ayoub Ganaie, son of Ghulam Qadir Ganie, Mudasir Ahmad Ganaie, son of Abdul Rashid Ganaie, all residents of Chachiloora were arrested during the nocturnal raids conducted by the forces in the intervening night of Wednesday-Thursday.
Meanwhile, a shopkeeper identified as Abdul Hameed Wani, resident of Magam was also arrested by the forces.
However, locals of the area staged protest during which they blocked the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway.
The protesting residents were demanding immediate release of the shopkeeper.
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