Srinagar: Authorities in the Old City Friday sealed all entry points leading to the historic Jamia Masjid disallowing thus the mandatory congregational prayers for the nineteenth consecutive here today.
Large contingent of police and paramilitary CRPF were deployed on roads and all the entry and exit points of old city were blocked with concertina wires and other barricades, witnesses said.
A large number of forces were deployed outside the grand mosque and adjoining areas to stop any pedestrian movement.
Resistance leadership including Hurriyat (G) chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief, Muhammad Yasin Malik who were placed under house arrest had called for District headquarters march on Friday.
Roads in Srinagar and major towns witnessed less movement of traffic while all the shops and business establishment remained shut. Though there was increased movement of traffic during the previous few days, but due to apprehension in the “law and order problem on Fridays”, people in the Srinagar city and some major towns of valley preferred to stay indoors. A little movement of private vehicles was witnessed in the civil lines areas of the Srinagar city while some parts of old city remained under siege.
The overall situation remained calm with reports of minor clashes in North and South Kashmir.
Police used tear-smoke shelling to disperse protesters in Palhalan area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district who pelted stones on government forces. Eyewitnesses said that four persons including a kid Adnan Hamid were injured during the clashes. Police sources said that at least six vehicles were damaged when youth resorted to stone-pelting.
Reports said that after Friday prayers, people carried out a pro-freedom rally from Jamia masjid, Sopore. However, a posse of police confronted them, triggering clashes between youth and para-military personnel.
Police used heavy tear-gas and pava-shells and brought the situation under control.
Minor clashes were also reported from Anantnag and Shopian district. In Shopian, authorities allowed people to offer Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid after 18th Friday’s.
After Friday protest marches were reported from many parts of Kashmir Valley. A massive protest march was organized by people at Ajas Bandipora in North Kashmir that was attended by hundreds of people. The peaceful pro-freedom march was led by senior separatist leader Abdul Samad Inqalabi. A huge pro-freedom procession was also carried out by people in Kralpora area of Central Kashmir’s Chadoora tehsil of Budgam district. The procession that was organized by Tehreek-e-Hurriyat started from Central Jamia Masjid and culminated peacefully at Main Stop. The protesters raised pro-freedom and anti-India slogans. Umar Adil Dar, Ghazi Javid Baba and Inhfaq Ahmed Khan from Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and Imtiyaz Ahmed Shah from People’s Freedom League participated in the rally.
Reports from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district said that a pro-freedom rally was taken out in Rohmu village while authorities had made a huge deployment of government forces in Tahab to foil pro-freedom protests. The area has been continuously witnessing anti-India protests since July 8. Massive stone-pelting incident was reported from Hakoora Malikpora hamlet of Achabal area of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The incident occurred shortly after police arrested Tehreek-e-Hurriyat district president Mir Hafizullah when he was leading a procession in the area.
Clashes In Downtown
Security forces burst teargas shells to disperse protests demonstrating after Friday prayers in downtown Srinagar, where life remained crippled since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Anantnag.
Shouting ‘pro-freedom’ and anti-forces slogans, scores of protestors, took to streets after Friday prayers at Safakadal in downtown Srinagar, demanding right to self determination.
However, security forces deployed in the area swung into action and stopped them from moving ahead.
As the protestors didn’t back down, security forces burst teargas shells to disperse demonstrators, who were pelting stones.