February 2019 News

Shutdown, Unprecedented Security Measures Cripple Normal Life In Valley

3 February 2019
Rising Kashmir
Javid Ahmad

Srinagar: Normal life came to a grinding halt in Valley on Sunday due to shutdown called by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) and unprecedented security measures put in place by authorities for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's day long-visit to the State. All shops, business establishments and private offices were closed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley. The public transport was also off the roads. Only the force vehicles and security personnel were plying on the deserted roads. The contingent of police and paramilitary personnel were manning the check points and nakas in Srinagar and keeping a close vigil on the movement of the people. The vehicular movement from PanthaChowk to LalChowk was disallowed as the police, CRPF and army men did not allow any vehicle to move towards LalChowk or any other part of Srinagar from PanthaChowk. The road stretch from PanthaChowk to Boulevard was senitised by the force personnel. Every stretch of the road was being manned by force personnel and armoured vehicles. Even the journalists were not allowed to use PanthaChowk-LalChowk route to reach their offices in city centre. Due to security restrictions, the weekly Sunday Market remained closed today. People in Srinagar mostly preferred to stay indoors as security was heightened in Srinagar for PM Modi's visit. The Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC), Srinagar, the venue for PM's engagements in Kashmir, remained out of bounds for public and private transport on second consecutive day today. Only the cavalcades of VVIPs were allowed on the road. Heavy contingents of police and CRPF were deployed along Boulevard and Gupkar road to maintain tight vigil and foil any militant attack. The forces also kept a close watch around Dal Lake, which was also inspected by the PM. The police, CRPF and army men were patrolling in Shikaras and water boats. The sharpshooters were also deployed atop some tall buildings around SKICC to thwart any attempt to cause disturbance during Modi's visit. The forces also sealed historic GhantaGhar in city centre by erecting concertina wires and barricades to prevent separatist leaders and activists from staging protests there. The force personnel were also deployed in strength in downtown areas to maintain law and order and foil protests. Meanwhile, mobile internet service was suspended by authorities after midnight as a precautionary measure. The service was, however, restored late in the evening after Modi returned to New Delhi. Police detained JKLFchairman Muhammad Yasin Malik from his residence in Srinagar. A large contingent of police arrived at Malik's Maisuma residence in the morning and detained him. Malik was lodged at police station KothiBagh. Several separatist leaders including Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, senior Hurriyat (M) leader and Chairman People's Political Party (PPP) Engineer Hilal Ahmad War remained under house arrest. Former MLA of Langate constituency, ErRasheed, who had called for welcoming PM Modi with black flags, was initially placed under house detention. Later, he was taken to a police detention.