Protest march by separatists foiled in Kashmir after authorities impose restrictions

Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in the city, while security personnel patrolled sensitive areas here to thwart any untoward incident.

Published: 17th December 2018 11:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th December 2018 05:45 AM   |  A+A-

Soldiers during an encounter with militants at Sirnoo in Pulwama district of south Kashmir on 16 December 2018. (Photo | PTI)

Soldiers during an encounter with militants at Sirnoo in Pulwama district of south Kashmir on 16 December 2018. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: All roads leading to the Army base in Srinagar were sealed and curfew-like restrictions were imposed in parts of the city to foil the separatists’ march on Monday. Top separatist leaders Mohammad Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were detained.

The roads leading to Badamibagh Cantonment was made out of bound for civilians. Police and paramilitary personnel had placed concertina wires and armoured vehicles patrolled the roads to prevent movement of people and vehicles.

At least a dozen barricades were placed on the five-km road stretch from Dalgate and Tourist Reception Centre to Pantha Chowk. Only security vehicles were allowed to use the route while civilian commuters were directed to use alternative roads. Police and Army vehicles were also deployed outside the cantonment to foil any attempt to march there.

The separatist leaders had called for a march to Badamibagh to protest the killing of seven civilians during the Pulwama encounter on Saturday. Over 40 others were injured when security forces fired on protestors during clashes near the encounter site. Three militants and an Army jawan were killed in the gunfight.

JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, who had gone into hiding on Saturday to evade arrest, surfaced along with his supporters at Gaw Kadal area on Monday morning to lead a march towards the Army headquarters. They were intercepted by police and told to disperse. But when they tried to march ahead, Malik, along with a dozen supporters, was detained.

This sparked clashes in the area with youth pelting stones at security men, who retaliated by firing tear gas shells.

Police also detained the Mirwaiz when he tried to defy the house arrest and march towards Army headquarters. He was later set free and placed under house arrest at his residence. All shops, business establishments and petrol pumps across the Valley remained closed while public and private transport was off the roads. Attendance in government offices and banks was also low. Mobile internet service in Kashmir also remained suspended for third consecutive day while train service remained suspended for the second day.

In view of the prevailing tension, the Islamic University of Science and Technology and the Central University of Kashmir have postponed their exams scheduled for Tuesday.

The State Human Rights Commission, acting on a complaint by activist Ahan Untoo into the civilian killings, directed Secretary (Home Department), state DGP and Deputy Commissioner and SSP of Pulwama to submit detailed report of the incident by March 1, 2019.

Meanwhile, Northern Command head Lt-Gen Ranbir Singh reviewed the prevailing security situation in Kashmir in the wake of recent anti-militancy operations. He also visited the forward areas in Kupwara and Baramulla.

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