Separatists Plan March In Srinagar; Police On Alert

7 November 2008
The Hindu

Srinagar: Curfew-like restrictions remained in force for the second day Friday in Jammu and Kashmir summer capital Srinagar after the separatist joint coordination committee re-scheduled its proposed march to the Jamia Mosque in the old city to Friday. The separatists had earlier called for the march to the grand mosque in the old city's Nowhatta area Thursday, a move scuttled by the authorities through strict enforcement of section 144 of the criminal procedure code, under which assembly of four or more people is banned. 'The people should assemble at the Jamia Mosque on Friday where the joint coordination committee would announce its future resistance programme,' Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, who also heads the committee, had told reporters here Thursday evening. 'Section 144 of criminal procedure code is in force throughout the city and no violations of the law would be allowed,' a senior police officer said here. Traffic, shops, educational institutions, banks and other business establishments remained closed in the city even as attendance in government offices was marginal because of non-availability of transport and curfew like restrictions. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who continued to remain under house arrest in his uptown Nigeen residence, told reporters that the separatists' poll boycott programme had been finalised. Jammu and Kashmir goes to the polls Nov 17 to Dec 24 to elect a new state assembly. 'There will be a Lal Chowk Chalo march on Dec 24 when polling is scheduled in Srinagar city. From Lal Chowk the people will proceed to the office of the United Nations Observers Group (UNMOG) in Srinagar and present a memorandum there,' the Mirwaiz said. 'People will also march to the other district headquarters in the valley on the dates the authorities hold polls there.'