Srinagar: A day after several areas in Kashmir witnessed a huge rush of people ahead of Eid festival, curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the valley on Wednesday as authorities enforced the lockdown put in place to contain an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in the union territory, officials said.
State forces sealed vital roads and erected barricades at many places in the city and other district headquarters to stop unnecessary movement of people, they said.
Markets remained shut and public transport was off the roads.
Movement of only those engaged in essential services and in cases of emergencies was being allowed, they added.
The officials said the restrictions were tightened on Wednesday in the wake of crowds gathering at several places in the city here and many other areas of the valley for Eid shopping.
Massive traffic jams were witnessed on Tuesday at several parts of the city including the commercial hub of Lal Chowk with people thronging the markets.
On April 29, the Jammu and Kashmir administration imposed a curfew in 11 districts in a bid to tackle the surge in Covid-19 cases, which was subsequently extended to all the 20 districts the next day.
The curfew, which was supposed to end at 7 am on May 3, was extended in the twin capitals of Jammu and Srinagar besides Budgam and Baramulla till May 6.
However, the authorities in other districts of the Kashmir valley also ordered extension in the restrictions first till May 6 and then till May 10. The restrictions were again extended till May 17.
IGP Calls For Strict Restrictions
Inspector General of police (IGP) Kashmir Vijay Kumar on Wednesday asked cops to revisit the existing security deployments and exercise strict restrictions and allow only employees and media fraternity.
According to a police spokesperson, the directions in this regard were passed by the IGP in a review meeting at PCR Kashmir through video conferencing with the district SSsP of Kashmir Zone. DIG central Kashmir and SSP Srinagar attended the meeting at PCR Kashmir.
“On the occasion, IGP Kashmir was briefed by the participating officers about the overall situation scenarios in their respective areas and the measures being adopted to contain the Covid-19,” he said.
He said that while interacting with the officers, IGP urged upon them to revisit the existing security deployments including security/restriction arrangements in view of Covid-19.
“He also urged them that the strict restrictions should be exercised and the employees only with passes shall be allowed including media fraternity. He also directed the officers to ensure hassle free movement of health workers especially doctors and avoid any kind of argument or L&O situations at the checkpoints,” the police spokesperson said.
Kumar, he said also directed officers to ensure hassle free movement of such vehicles and treat them at par with ambulances.
“While mentioning the special helpline for doctors and healthcare workers established earlier on Zonal level, he directed the officers to establish a special helpline on similar pattern at district levels so as to avoid any hindrance in passage of healthcare workers,” he said.
He further added that the IGP also urged upon the officers to strategise the deployments on eve of Eid-ul-Fitr to thwart the nefarious designs of militants and anti-national elements.
“He also stressed for better synergy and coordination with other security agencies deployed in their respective areas. He also directed to establish special joint nakas with CRPF at strategic locations and share GPS coordinates accordingly to strengthen the security grid,” he added.
As per the police spokesperson, the IGP highlighted the importance of the measures to be adopted against militancy and directed officers to ensure appropriate measures to stop recruitment of local boys in militant folds and provide opportunity to local trapped militants for surrender.
“IGP Kashmir also directed the officers to review the existing security deployed with the Panchayati Raj Institutions including DDC, BDC, MC, etc. residing in their respective areas. He further instructed officers to avoid any slackness in security of these PPs and ensure better coordination & synergy with them to avoid any untoward incident,” he said.
He further added that the IGP Kashmir also reiterated the need to enhance the anti-militancy grid by generating specific intelligence and intensify search operations and anti-militant operations in their respective districts and take all proactive steps for maintaining peace and stability in their respective areas.
“He also emphasized upon the officers to keep strict vigil over the militant associates and take all necessary measures under law against them,” the police spokesperson said.
“IGP Kashmir also directed the officers to ensure guard checking and strict night curfew in their areas so as thwart the evil designs of the anti-national elements,” he added.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.