Curfew Again on Friday
SRINAGAR: Authorities today imposed curfew in the capital Srinagar of Jammu and Kashmir to foil the separatists' call to march towards the historical Jamia Masjid where Friday prayers have been banned since the civil uprising erupted in July.
According to police, curfew has been imposed in the jurisdiction of five police stations falling in downtown area of Srinagar city while additional police and paramilitary troops have been deployed in other areas, including some sensitive towns of the Valley, to foil the march.
The powerful Hurriyat trio of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Geelani and Yasin Malik had announced that they would defy curbs placed on them and march towards the Jamia Masjid to offer Friday prayers there.
A day after meeting the high-profile delegation led by former union minister Yashwant Sinha, Mirwaiz Farooq had urged the authorities to release the people who have been held over the last four months of unrest and allow people to offer prayers at Jamia Masjid where he delivers Fridaysermon.
Witnesses said the historic mosque, located in Nowhatta locality of Srinagar, has been sealed from all sides with the number of police and paramilitary troopers outnumbering the locals in the area where protests break out after Friday prayers.
"Curfew has been imposed in Nowhatta as well as other areas of downtown Srinagar as a precautionary measure while restrictions will remain in force in other parts of the Valley to maintain law and order," a senior police officer told The Citizen.
Meanwhile, the delegation members yesterday called on Geelani at his residence for the second time in as many days and urged him, according to sources, to allow the schools to open up so that the students don't end up wasting their academic year.
However, the Hurriyat patriarch put the onus of opening of schools on the state government, saying that "ensuring peace and calm is the constitutional responsibility of those holding reins of power".
"If the authorities are really concerned and bothered about the education, they should release all people including students, withdraw the cases against them, stop police vigil, put an end to the barbarism, night raids and allow peaceful demonstrations which will help in creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere," Geelani said in a statement issued after the meeting.
At least 20 schools in Kashmir have been consigned to flames, some of them irretrievably, by unidentified persons since the uprising broke out in July following the killing of Burhan Wani. The latest incident took place in central Kashmir's Khan village where a school was torched last night.