Kashmir shuts over ‘plight of prisoners’

A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir even as authorities had placed strict restrictions in parts of Srinagar after the strike call given by separatists over the “plight of prisoners” in different jails.

Authorities imposed complete restrictions in old downtown area of Srinagar to prevent youth from staging protests and resorting to stone pelting on forces. District administration Srinagar imposed restrictions within the territorial jurisdictions of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and MR Gunj police stations as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of shutdown call given by joint separatist leadership to mark solidarity with Kashmiri prisoners lodged in various jails of state.

Restrictions also remained imposed partially in territorial jurisdictions of Maisuma and Kralkhud police stations of the district. Witnesses said that youth tried to break restrictions in Safakadal area and hurled a petrol bomb on a CRPF deployment in which one constable was injured. They said miscreants, unidentified, hurled a petrol bomb at the CRPF personnel deployed on law-and-order duty at the Malik Angan locality of Safakadal, resulting in minor injuries to CRPF constable

Srinagar-based CRPF spokesperson, Rajesh Yadav , identified the injured CRPF trooper as constable Raj Kumar. “Kumar’s right hand suffered normal burn injury on right hand,” Yadav said.

According to local residents a heavy contingent of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was deployed on all major roads—a practice routinely followed by forces to contain protests. “The area remained completely shut but small cars and bikes were seen plying on roads,” said a resident of downtown area.
Apprehending protests authorities placed Hurriyat (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under house detention at his Nageen residence on Sunday, while octogenarian separatist leader and Hurriyat (G) chief, Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain under house arrest in his uptown residence in Hyderpora. Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Yasin Malik, was also arrested and shifted to central jail Srinagar. The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for a shutdown in Kashmir to mark solidarity with the prisoners lodged in different jails in state.

“The condition of thousands of innocents languishing in jails and police stations is also worsening day by day,” JRL had said in a statement. In view of shutdown call, authorities suspended local rail service for security reasons.

“All trains on Srinagar-Budgam to Baramulla rail tracks remained halted. Similarly, all trains on Srinagar-Anantnag-Qazigund to Banihal rail links remained suspended,” an official said.
Notably, this was for the 45th time that trains service was suspended—partially or completely—this year as a “precautionary measure” during or in view of apprehensions of law and order situations.

Shutdown was also observed in Baramulla, Sopore, Handwara and Kupwara in north Kashmir. Reports of shutdown were also received from districts of south Kashmir while negligible movement of transport was witnessed in the region where forces were deployed in sensitive places.
The shutdown call was given by separatists’ at a time when union Government’s special representative to Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma is on his second visit to Kashmir valley for talks.

javid@risigkashmir.com