Srinagar: Authorities in Srinagar on Monday clamped curfew in the city in view of what they called “specific inputs” about protests on August 5, the first anniversary of the revocation of J&K’s special status and its division into two union territories.
Srinagar District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said in an order that the curfew will come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in effect on August 4 and August 5.
Earlier strict restrictions on public movement were imposed in the Kashmir valley on Monday, with officials saying that the curbs have been enforced as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Police and paramilitary forces sealed most of the roads and market places to enforce the lockdown.
Quoting Srinagar Senior Superintendent of Police District Magistrate said, “a series of inputs have been received suggesting that separatist and Pakistan-sponsored groups are planning to observe August 5 as Black Day and violent action or protests are not ruled out.”
“There are specific inputs about violent protests endangering public life and property,” the DM’s order said.
Choudhary said any mass gathering would also be detrimental to efforts related to the containment of COVID-19.
The SSP report further suggests that in view of restrictions aimed at COVID-19 containment already in place, the movement and assembly of people have been prohibited, the DM said.
Thus, any such mass gathering would be detrimental to efforts related to COVID-19 containment as well, he said.
The order said the report has further made a case that to prevent such violence and loss of life/property, it’s imminent to impose curfew in the district .
Therefore, after having considered the material facts in the said report and examining the situation in backdrop of prevailing factors, I, District Magistrate, Srinagar, by virtue of powers vested in me u/s 144 CrPC hereby order complete restrictions on public movement / curfew in territorial jurisdiction of District Srinagar, the order read.
However, medical emergencies and movement of staff on COVID-19 duty with pass/valid cards shall be exempted from the restrictions, the order said.
These restrictions shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force on August 4 and 5, the order said, adding, the restrictions previously ordered on account of COVID-19 shall continue thereafter till August 8, unless revised earlier.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti said the heightened security arrangements in the valley were being undertaken to ensure that “anger and frustration felt by people” against the Centre’s decision “remain hidden”.
“Suddenly, there is heightened security & surveillance in the valley. Not like non discriminatory COVID virus will be more active in the days approaching 5th August so clearly this is being done to ensure that anger & frustration felt by people here remain hidden,” Iltija posted on her mother’s Twitter handle which she has been using since Mehbooba was taken into custody in August last year.
The Centre on August 5 last year revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Articles 370 and 35-A and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories.
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