SRINAGAR: Separatist leaders were detained and authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in capital Srinagar and some parts of Kashmir Valley on Friday ahead of the Independence Day celebrations here.

The capital city has been virtually turned into a virtual fortress with all the roads leading to Bakshi Stadium, where the main I-Day function will be held, blocked by barricades where commuters and pedestrians are being frisked to prevent any untoward incident.

Reports said many offices and educational institutes in the city were closed on Friday due to heightened security measures with markets wearing a deserted look and minimal movement of traffic on the roads.

"I kept my shop closed for the day because of intense frisking by forces, which keeps customers away from Lal Chowk. Its better to spend the day with my family," Ghulam Rasool, who owns a garments store in Lambert Lane market of Lal Chowk, told The Citizen.

Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar, Farooq Ahmad Lone, said restrictions have been imposed in some areas as a precautionary measure. “There is no restriction on movement of employees and students. We have made fool-proof security arrangements to thwart any untoward incident,” he said.

Curfew-like restrictions have also been imposed in the volatile old city of Srinagar which often erupts in anti-India and pro-freedom protests. Police said parts of Srinagar falling under six police stations - Rainawari, Khanyar, M R Gunj, Safakdal, Nowhata and Maisuma - will remain under restrictions till the I-Day celebrations are over.

“The restrictions have been imposed to prevent youth from waving or hoisting Pakistani flags on the eve of Pakistan’s Independence Day today,” a police official said.

However, reports said Pakistani flags were hoisted in an old city locality on Friday and Khudwani area of Kulgam on Thursday with jubilant youth shouting pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.

Amid fears of militant strike, restrictions have also been imposed in major towns of Kashmir Valley including Baramulla, Pulwama, Anantnag, Sopore and Shopian. Police sources said there are fears that the new recruits from south Kashmir may carry out a strike due to which vigil has been stepped up.

Meanwhile, the Hurriyat leaders have been placed under house arrest. JKLF chairman Yasin Malik was detained on Wednesdaywhile trying to reach Pulwama to express solidarity with the family of slain youth, Bilal Ahmed, who was killed by BSF troopers on Tuesday. Malik is presently held at Kothibagh police station.

Veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq along with other senior and middle-rung leaders have been placed under house arrest. “Police conducted raids on residences of our leaders, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Mehrajudin and many others and detained them,” said Geelani's spokesman, Ayaz Akbar, said.