Tayyab Nisar Mir
SRINAGAR, Feb 22: Curfew was imposed in entire Kashmir by the state government today to foil the protests after Friday prayers against the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru and in support of the demand for handing over his body to his family. Dispatch News Desk reports.
However, people at several areas defied the restrictions and held protest demonstrations. They clashed with police and paramilitary forces resulting in injuries to some persons. Hundreds of people defied curfew at Khanyar and offered Friday prayers at Dastageer Sahab (RA) shrine complex. The call for protest was given by Hurriyat (G) and JKLF, which has also asked the people to observe a general strike. Today was the third consecutive day of general strike.
The authorities imposed curfew in Srinagar city and other towns of Valley since the wee hours of this morning. Police and paramilitary forces sealed important roads and bridges with barbed wire and armoured vehicles. Announcements regarding imposition of curfew were made through the police vehicles. The people were asked to stay indoors and not to move out. The rains and light snowfall helped the men in uniform to enforce more strictly. Friday prayers could not be offered in big mosques. The people in Khanyar came out in large number from their residence and held protest demonstrations. They moved towards the Dastageer Sahab (RA) shrine complex for offering prayers. The cops also withdrew from there.
No Friday prayers could be held at the historic Jamia Masjid here because of the curfew. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman Hurriyat Conference (M), who was addressing the people there, remained under house arrest at his Nigeen residence. Reports said police and CRPF had to burst smoke shells and resort to lathicharge to disperse protestors at Trehgam Kupwara. The people held protest demonstration there after Friday prayers. The demonstrators pelted stones on police. Several persons including Sajad Malik and Junaid Mir were injured.
Protestors also clashed with cops at Mehjoornagar, Hajan, Kralpora-Kupwara, Qoimoh-Redwani in Kulgam, Nagam Chadoora and some other areas also. Because of the curfew, Srinagar city, Baramulla, Kupwara, Handwara, Bandipora, Sopore, Budgam, Chadoora, Pulwama, Shopian, Anantnag, Pampore, Bijbehara, Tral, Kulgam and other towns wore a deserted look. The people stayed indoors and police and paramilitary forces were out on the roads. In Srinagar the police had also sealed the historic Lal Chowk, Amirakadal Bridge, Budshah Bridge, Foot Bridge and other bridges and roads. No pedestrian or civilian movement was allowed. Official sources said the curfew will be lifted late this evening and that there will be no curfew from tomorrow. The Hurriyat (G) has also asked the people to resume their normal work for three days from tomorrow and wait for the next protest programme to be chalked out in consultation with other separatist groups.