Restrictions, Shutdown Paralyse Life in Kashmir

Srinagar, June 27: The spontaneous strike coupled with curfew-like restrictions in some parts of Srinagar paralysed life for a third consecutive day on Wednesday in Indian administered Kashmir, over gutting of 245-year-old Dastageer Sahib (RA) shrine.

Authorities for the third day imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar – Khanyar, Maharaj Gunj, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and Kralkhud police stations. Hundreds of police and paramilitary CRPF men armed with riot gear were deployed in the areas under jurisdiction of the six police stations. The cops enforced a curfew-like situation and did not allow people to venture out.

The police and CRPF men barricaded the roads with concertina wire. People in some parts of the old city were seen pleading with the cops to let them move to their respective destinations.

However, there was no curfew in the civil lines area of the city, where the strength of police and CRPF men was beefed up.

Defying restrictions, youth took to the roads at Nawab Bazar in the old city and adjoining areas, and staged anti-government demonstrations. Chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans, they clashed with police and paramilitary personnel, who were deployed in the area. The cops retaliated by lobbing tear smoke shells and resorted to baton charges. The ding dong clashes between the two sides continued until late evening.

Meanwhile, a spontaneous mourning shutdown was observed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley.

All government offices, banks, shops, business establishments and educational institutions were closed while passenger buses were off the roads. However, private vehicles were seen in the civil lines of Srinagar and other parts of the Valley.

This was for the third day that the entire valley remained shut to mourn the gutting of the revered shrine. Also, yesterday the entire valley was shut in response to a strike called by separatists and supported by religious bodies.

It is still unclear what started the fire Monday that destroyed a shrine that held a few relics from Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani, an 11th-century saint known widely as Ghaus-e-Azam, who is buried in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

Fayaz Wani
Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.