Day 98: Hazratbal shrine sealed ahead of Milad celebrations restrictions in old city amid shutdown, internet blockade

SRINAGAR, Nov 9: Stringent restrictions were imposed today around Dargah Hazratbal shrine which houses the holy relic of prophet Muhammad (SAW) while the roads leading to holy place were sealed off by the police ahead of Milad-un-Nabi congregations.
Government forces were deployed in strength around Hazratbal shrine as a precautionary measure to prevent people from converging to offer congregational Milad prayers. All roads, entry and exit points leading to the holy shrine were sealed off with concertina wires and iron barricades to prevent public movement.

The move according to officials was taken as a precautionary measure to avoid any law and order situation in view of large congregation of devotees at the shrine on the eve of the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Officials said that Milad gatherings and rallies would also not be allowed to hold in Kashmir this year.

Pertinently, the central Jamia Masjid in old city’s Nowhatta area continued to remain closed for congregational Friday prayers since abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir and division of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
However, this is for the first time in the history of Kashmir that Dargah Hazratbal shrine whereat devotees not only from Kashmir but other parts of mainland India converged to have a glimpse of the holy relic of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was closed on the occasion of Milad celebrations.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPc were also imposed in old city to put a hold on people to throng Hazratbal shrine to celebrate birth anniversary of Muslim prophet.

Meanwhile, normal life continued to remain hit in restive valley on 98th day of shutdown against centers August 5 decision to downgrade special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its subsequent bifurcation into two UT’s.
Markets as usual remained closed across Kashmir while public transport continued to remain off the roads, however an increased movement of private vehicles was observed on roads in Srinagar and elsewhere amid cold weather.

Shops at a few places in Srinagar were opened till afternoon while street vendors had setup stalls on roads. Valley’s flea market (Sunday Market) at Residency Road also witnessed considerable rush of people purchasing woolen clothes and other items.
Educational institutions were, however, closed and all exams scheduled for today stands postponed as per the directions of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
While Banihal-Baramulla rail service remained suspended on 98th running day in Kashmir, prepaid mobile service and internet also remained snapped.
Administration on October 14 partially restored postpaid mobile calling service on all networks.