October 2017 News

Braid-chopping Horror: Protests, Stone-pelting Amid Restrictions In Srinagar

20 October 2017
Kashmir Reader
Muheet ul Islam

Srinagar: Prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid were disallowed for the fourth consecutive Friday and restrictions imposed in several areas of Srinagar to prevent people from holding protests against 'braid-chopping'. Protests after Friday congregational prayers across the Valley had been called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohmmad Yasin Malik. In Hazratbal area, some youths pelted stones on passenger and private vehicles to enforce a shutdown. All shopkeepers lowered their shutters and went home. Reports said that when a police team from the Nigeen station arrived, the stone-pelting stopped. 'A couple of minor boys were detained by police,' a local resident said. Clashes were also reported from Bagh-i-Mahtab area near the railway bridge, where scores of youths threw stones on a train in the evening. Train services from Budgam to Anantnag and Banihal were cancelled afterwards, with railway officials citing the stone-pelting as the reason. Protests were held in Batamaloo, Saria Bala and Hyderpora areas soon after the Friday prayers were over. In Saria Bala, JKLF activists held a protest under the banner of the Joint Resistance Leadership. The protesting activists carried placards, banners and flags of Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The protest was led by JKLF zonal general secretary Sheikh Abdul Rashid and zonal vice-president Muhammad Sideeq Shah. Hurriyat leaders and scores of activists held a protest at Hyderpora. Addressing the gathering, Mohammad Yusuf Naqash said that police do not miss a chance to arrest pro-freedom leaders but pretend to be clueless in cases of braid-chopping. Several women took out a protest march in Batamaloo where they went around deploring the attacks on women. Restrictions under Section 144 CrPc were imposed in areas under the jurisdiction of seven police stations in old Srinagar. Of these seven areas, normal public movement was witnessed in Khanyar, Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Kralkhud and Maisuma. In Nowhatta and MR Gunj, strict restrictions were enforced and police and paramilitary deployed in increased numbers. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who usually delivers the Friday sermon at Nowhatta's Jamia Masjid, was placed under house arrest early in the morning. Policemen arrived at his Nigeen residence and informed him about his detention. He was supposed to visit Charar-e-Sharif shrine during the day. At Charar-e-Sharif area in Budgam, locals took out a protest rally soon after congregational prayers were over. Reports said that the rally was intercepted by police and paramilitary men, at which they were pelted with stones. Witnesses said that police and paramilitary troops fired several rounds in the air to disperse the protesters. Police sources said that only a single gunshot was fired by one CRPF trooper and that the protesters dispersed peacefully. No one was reported injured in the incident.