South Sealed Off To Foil Tral March

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Tral/ Srinagar—Massive presence of police and paramilitary forces enroute restive town of Tral in South Kashmir Tuesday foiled ‘Tral Chalo’ (March to Tral) called by ‘Resistance’ leadership to offer congregational Fateha for slain militant commander Sabzar Ahmed Bhat and his associate Faizan Muzaffar. The duo was killed by Indian army in an encounter on Saturday, May 27 at Saimuh village of the town.

As expected, authorities imposed curfew like restrictions by sealing all the entry points for Tral. 

The town was virtually cut off from rest of the Kashmir Valley as not only the strict restrictions were in place but also the cellular services were suspended.

Eyewitnesses described the town as a fortified garrison. “Everywhere you can see gun totting men in uniform and armoured vehicles. The movement of the people has been completely restricted,” CNS news agency reported quoting residents.

“I was stopped at many places and not allowed to proceed towards Rathsuna village even after displaying my identity card,” said a scribe adding that concertina wires have been laid everywhere with armoured vehicles on standby.

Some residents claimed that choppers were also hovering over to monitor the situation. A police official however refuted this claim saying that there was no need to monitor the situation from air, as enough security personnel were present on land.

Reports said that despite strict restrictions, a group of people managed to reach Rathsuna village and organized a pro-freedom rally.

Stray stone-pelting incidents were reported from a couple of places in the town. Protesters, according to reports, gathered at Bus Stand Tral and chanted pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Reports said that a group of protesters also attacked the house of PDP legislator Mushtaq Ahmed Shah. Witnesses said that rocks were hurled on the house; however, Shah was not present in the house.

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Pertinently, the ‘Joint Resistance’ leadership comprising of two factions of Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF had called for a march to Tral to pay tributes and offer prayers for Sabzar and Faizan.

 Heads of the two factions Geelani and Mirwaiz have been under continuous house detention while JKLF Chief Muhammad Yasin Malik was arrested a day after he visited Tral to ensure his participation in the last rites of the slain militants.

Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was observed in the Kashmir Valley with shops and business establishments remaining closed. Train Service continued to remain suspended on Tuesday for the fourth consecutive day. Educational institutions also remained closed.

Meanwhile, a police official said that situation across the valley remained peaceful and under control. However, minor incidents of stone pelting were reported from Keller Chowk in Shopian and Court Road,  Pinglish in Tral. 

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At Pinglish Tral, miscreants heavily pelted stones on police and security forces deployment in which some police and security forces personnel were injured. The deployment used maximum restraint while dealing with the situation and the miscreants were chased away. A stone pelter was injured in the incident.

To avoid any untoward incident, restriction under section 144 CrPC remained imposed in some part of the city as also in some main towns.

Major Highways Closed

All the major highways, including Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, Mughal Road and Ladakh-Srinagar highway, were closed for traffic on Tuesday in view of the call for a march to Tral to pay tributes to Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sabzar Bhat and his colleague, who were killed in an encounter with security forces recently.

The ‘Joint Resistance’ leadership had asked people to reach Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district in large numbers today to pay tributes to the slain militants.

“The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway has been closed and no movement of any sort of traffic on either side is being allowed,” an official of the traffic department said here.

He said the decision to close the nearly 300-km highway – the only all-weather road connecting the Valley with the rest of the country – was taken in view of the prevailing situation as the roadway passes through south Kashmir.

Mughal Road, also in south Kashmir, which passes through Shopian and is an alternate fair-weather roadway connecting Jammu with the Valley, has also been closed for traffic from Bafliaz towards Srinagar, the official said.

He said Srinagar-bound vehicles on Kargil-Sonamarg road were also being restricted due to the prevailing circumstances.

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