SRINAGAR: Millions of Kashmiris remained confined to their homes for the third consecutive day on Tuesday as police and paramilitary forces deployed in lanes and bylanes of Srinagar and other districts of occupied Kashmir valley enforced a strict curfew to prevent a pro-Azadi mass sit-in at historic Lal Chowk.
Keeping People Away: CRPF personnel were deployed in strength across Kashmir to prevent people from joining Azadi March to Lal Chowk- KO pix Mukhtar Khan Barring minor incidents of slogan shouting by groups of youth who gathered in several city areas and towns, the situation remained by and large peaceful and there was been no report of any violence or major defiance of curfew.
While tens of thousands of police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were deployed to enforce curfew, the Army was also kept on stand by. Hundreds of gun-toting CRPF personnel had taken up positions in and around the Lal Chowk with all the entry and exit points of the square sealed with barbed wire fencing. Metal gates were erected on sensitive points.
The newly acquired anti-riot armoured vehicles too had been positioned at strategic locations in the city to prevent people from defying curfew restrictions. “The situation remained peaceful throughout the Valley and no incident of violence has taken place from anywhere,” IGP (Kashmir Zone), B. Srinivas, said.
Earlier a tragedy was averted in old town Baramulla when people, preparing to hold a pro-freedom march, overpowered a man carrying a grenade. The youth identified as Adil Ahmad Lone son of Abdur Rahman of Tauheed Gunj, was given a severe beating and later handed over to police.
Before he was handed over to police, the youth claimed before media persons that he was directed by an army officer from a local camp to hurl grenade on the protesters. While army denied the charge police said it has booked the youth under the ‘provisions of law’ and started investigations.
In Srinagar groups of youth attempted to defy curfew in several city areas including Maisuma, Safa Kadal, Chattabal and Hyderpora. However, according to reports, paramilitary CRPF swung into action immediately chasing the youth in the lanes and by-lanes of the congested localities. Over 2,000 vehicles were stranded on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Tuesday due to suspension of vehicular traffic by authorities in view of curfew in the Kashmir valley.
All newspapers in occupied Kashmir valley failed to hit the stands as State administration imposed indefinite curfew for second consecutive day to abort ‘Lal Chowk March’ organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Coordination Committee. The newspapers blamed State administration for failing to provide adequate curfew passes to their staff. With curfew likely to continue, newspapers may fail to hit the stands on Tuesday as well.
Meanwhile, the State administration has asked two local cable TV channels, Sen Channel and Mouj Kasheer to stop beaming its programs for the time being while other cable TV channels failed to beam any current affairs program due to non-issuance curfew passes. Managing Director of Sen Channel Mir Amjad said that the government seized the equipment on lame excuses. “They seized our equipment saying you showed the press conference of JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik while the fact is that the government is worried that if we show the real situation, people will revolt,” said Amjad.
He said: “Government is using these excuses to black information from reaching to the common masses.“No news program went on air due to non-issuance of curfew pass. Early in August the administration had promised to give sufficient passes but they again failed,” said an official of a local cable TV channel.
“They want information to be blocked and are using oppressive tactics,” he said.
In last week of August, no daily newspaper could hit the stands for a week’s time due to imposition of curfew as police, CRPF men and army refused to entertain curfew passes and beat journalist working for local, Indian and international agencies. It was only after the government, following a meeting between Chief Secretary, S S Kapur and editors of several newspapers decided to issue adequate number of specially designed and coloured curfew passes to the media organizations.-SANA