SRINAGAR: The authorities again imposed curfew-like restrictions across the Kashmir Valley and disallowed Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid and many other major mosques for the fourth consecutive week while militants shot dead a shopkeeper in Parimpora area of Srinagar last night.
Militants opened fire at Ghulam Mohammad, 65, when he was closing his shop at Parimpora area late Thursday.
“Three youths came on a motorcycle and fired six bullets at him from a point-blank range. He died on the spot,” said a police source.
Barricades and concertina wires were back in Srinagar and other areas.
In some areas, restrictions were eased after 3 pm following the conclusion of Friday prayers but in most areas, the curbs remained in force for the whole day.
People were asked to offer Friday prayers in local mosques.
Despite tight security measures, youth in Anchar Soura, Rainawari and Batamaloo areas of Srinagar attempted to stage protests after the namaz and pelted stones on security men who retaliated by firing tear gas shells and baton-charging.
Sporadic incidents of clashes were also reported from some other areas in Kashmir.
It was the fourth Friday since the scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of J&K that the Imams (clerics) and religious scholars in most mosques and shrines in Srinagar refrained from directly talking about the matter in their Friday sermons.
The authorities have warned that action would be taken in case any speech denouncing scrapping of Article 370 was made.
“The Masjid committee has advised a cleric to refrain from talking on Article 370. The management has been warned that in case sermons on Article 370, they along with the Imam will be detained,” a member of Masjid Committee of a mosque on the outskirts of Srinagar
A resident of a downtown Srinagar area said a youth had gone to the mosque in the morning and raised slogans.
“The brief sloganeering panicked the mosque management, and they decided to lock the mosque after prayer,” he said.
Owing to the restrictions, the mosques have not emerged as focal points of public protests as used to be the case in 2008, 2010 and 2016.