Amid stringent curbs, a complete shutdown was Sunday observed in Srinagar downtown against the NIA’s summon to Hurriyat Conference (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in connection with an alleged funding case.
The authorities imposed severe restrictions in downtown as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of the strike called by various trade bodies against NIA’s summon to Kashmir’s head priest Mirwaiz.
Restrictions were imposed under Section 144 of CrPc in five police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, M R Gunj and Safa Kadal.
A large contingent of Police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were deployed along roads and major places of downtown to prevent people from staging any protest and stone pelting.
They said large coils of concertina wires were laid across roads as barricades to prevent movement and assembly of people in the area.
“People were not allowed to move in groups. However, they were allowed to move individually at few places,” a local said.
Another resident said the restrictions were curfew-like as people were not able to venture out for daily work or to buy essential commodities.
He said vehicles were also not allowed to move through the areas where restrictions remained imposed.
Meanwhile, complete shutdown was observed in downtown in response to the traders call.
Shops and business establishments in the area remained closed for the day.
Shehar-e-Khaas Traders Coordination Committee, an amalgam of various trade bodies in Srinagar downtown called for shutdown against the NIA summons to Mirwaiz.
Beopar Mandal Mahraj Gunj and Jamia Market had also supported the strike call.
According to NIA notice issued to Mirwaiz, he has been asked to appear before the probe agency’s headquarters in New Delhi on Monday, March 11 at 10:30 am.
Naseem Geelani, son of Hurriyat (G) chief Syed Ali Geelani, has also been called for questioning to New Delhi.
On February 26, NIA had conducted searches at the residences of Mirwaiz, Naseem and JKLF chief Muhammad Yaseen Malik, who was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged at Kot Balwal jail in Jammu few days ago, besides several other separatist leaders.
This is for the first time that the NIA summoned Mirwaiz while Naseem has been summoned second time for questioning in connection with the case RC 10/2017/NIA/DLI, under sections 120 B, 121, 121 A of IPC r/w section 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act 1967, registered on May 30 in 2017.
Ten persons including seven separatist leaders and three others including a top businessman were arrested for their alleged involvement in the funding case.
However, among the arrested one Kamran Yousuf, a photojournalist was released on bail.
Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said Mirwaiz was not “any ordinary” separatist leader.
She termed the NIA summon to him “emblematic of Government of India’s repeated assaults on religious identity of Kashmir”.
“Mirwaiz Farooq isn’t any ordinary separatist leader. He is religious & spiritual head to Kash muslims. NIA summons to him are emblematic of GOIs repeated assaults on our religious identity (sic),” Mehbooba wrote on Twitter.
“J&K is the proverbial sacrificial lamb exploited to divert attention from real issues,” she said.