Curfew In Sensitive Areas In Kashmir To Keep Protesters At Bay On Friday29 October 2010
The Hindustan Times
New Delhi: Continuing with its approach to impose curfew in restive areas on Fridays, the government brought five sensitive police stations under curfew in Srinagar city and north Kashmir's Bandipora district to stop any street protest after Friday prayers. Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was also placed under house arrest since morning. The Mirwaiz prays and lead prayers on Fridays at historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar. The area witnesses frequent street protests and stone-pelting incidents. The government decided not to allow Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid for seventh consecutive week on Friday. 'The Hurriyat condemn the state government's insensitivity and use of force to stop Muslims from their religious duties. People across Kashmir valley are very angry about such unfortunate religious interferences,' said a Hurriyat spokesman in a statement. Meanwhile, curfew in Srinagar city's five police stations - MR Gung Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal, and Nowhatta - disturbed normal life in downtown Srinagar. Employees and students found it difficult to teach offices, schools and colleges. The restrictions were, however, eased in the evening. Situation in the rest of Kashmir valley was normal with traffic plying as usual and shops all open. There was no shutdown call given by the Hurriyat on Friday. However, a clash between security forces and protesters broke out in north Kashmir's Baramulla town, 60 km away from Srinagar. 'After Friday prayers, some miscreants assembled at Delina chowk and resorted to stone pelting on security forces deployed there. Miscreants also tried to block the Baramulla Srinagar National Highway,' said a police spokesman. The police used force to disperse the protesters. In south Kashmir's Pulwama district, the police fired smoke-shells near Murran chowk to disperse a mob raising anti-India and pro-freedom slogans. 'Security forces exercised utmost restraint and thus prevented any mishap. Miscreants were chased away and their attempts were foiled and peace was restored,' said a police spokesman. There were reports of minor clashes after Friday prayers in downtown Srinagar despite curfew.