SRINAGAR: Authorities in Srinagar on Monday clamped curfew in the city in view of "specific inputs" about violent protests on August 5, the first anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370.
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.
Srinagar Senior Superintendent of Police has reported that 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, the DM said.
"There are specific inputs about violent protests endangering public life and property," the 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.
Senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz on Monday claimed he continued to be under house detention, and that the main gate of his residence has now been locked from inside as well.
The former Union minister urged the country's judicial system to take notice of the situation.
"I have already explained my position that I continue to be under house arrest. The Supreme Court was told by the Government on July 30 that I was a free man. I had categorically stated that the Government had made a false statement before the Supreme Court and outside too," he said in a statement here.
"I had rebutted the false statement that very day and subsequently also, but the Government continued to spread the falsehood, rather unnecessarily," he said.
Soz said the policemen posted at his house have now locked the main gate from inside as well.
"I saw a change having taken place today in respect of myself being under house-arrest and it was that the main gate of my house has now been locked from inside, also," he said.
"Certain observers from outside the state have been asking as to why the Supreme Court allowed narration of lies in its courtroom. To that question, I can only say that the country's judicial system can take notice of all such situations," the Congress leader said.
In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, the Jammu and Kashmir administration had said Soz was "never detained nor under house arrest" and there are "no restrictions on his movement subject to security clearance".
The government's affidavit came in response to a petition by Soz's wife asking for his release from "illegal detention" and for him to be brought to the court.
The senior Congress leader had said on July 31 he would sue the government for his "unlawful house arrest" since August 5 last year, when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and termed the government's response in the Supreme Court that he was not under detention "falsehood".
(With PTI Inputs)