Srinagar still under curfew for third day

Srinagar still under curfew for third day

The curfew, which was imposed on Wednesday evening, continued in parts of Srinagar city on the third consecutive day on Friday without any relaxation.

District magistrate (Srinagar) Baseer Ahmad Khan had imposed curfew in nine police station areas of the city after sectarian clashes broke out in Zadibal and Hawal areas of the old city on Wednesday.

Since Friday morning the authorities reportedly deployed large contingents of police and CRPF in the curfew-bound volatile areas of the city to thwart any untoward incident after the prayers.

A senior police officer told Deccan Herald that fearing protests after the Friday prayers, additional forces were deployed even in the areas where curfew has not been put in place. All roads leading to the old city were blocked with concertina wires and armoured vehicles.

Senior police and civil officers were seen visiting the volatile areas to assess the situation, reports said.

Eyewitnesses said loudspeakers fitted on police gypsies were used for making announcements to urge people to stay indoors.

No Friday prayers were allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area. Security and para-military forces prevented people from gathering at the Grand Mosque.
Educational institutions, government offices, banks, post offices, shops and other business establishments remained shut in areas under curfew while there was thin attendance in offices and banks in other areas.

Late in the evening, police and district administration higher-ups held a detailed meeting, which went on till 9 pm, here to discuss the prevailing situation. However, the authorities could not reach any consensus on whether to lift the curfew on Saturday or not.
In addition, the University of Kashmir postponed all the exams scheduled for Saturday. “All the exams to be held on 1-12-12 are postponed. Fresh dates will be notified separately,” said a university spokesperson.

Meanwhile, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned state government’s decision to restrict people in their houses and “not to allow them to offer the Friday prayers at masjids and shrines.”

“The restrictions are a direct interference in the religious matter of Muslims. It is undemocratic and authoritative,” he said in a statement.

Mirwaiz stressed that Kashmiris should show unity at any cost and “foil the evil designs of the agencies which want to create fissures among the Muslims.”

He has called a meeting of Sunni-Shia Coordination Committee in December to formulate an effective strategy to tackle the issue of sectarian clashes in the future.

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