Srinagar under thick security cover

Checking of vehicles intensified;Restrictions likely in old Srinagar

SHABIR IBN YUSUF

Srinagar, Sep 6: In the backdrop of Zubin Mehta concert scheduled to be held in Shalimar Garden on the banks of Dal Lake Saturday, Srinagar witnessed heightened security arrangements on Friday.
The authorities have decided to put restrictions in downtown area and most separatist leaders have been put under house arrest as a ‘precautionary measure.’
The government has also announced compensation to shopkeepers around Shalimar, whose commercial establishments remained closed since Friday morning ‘due to security reasons.’
Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) have erected barricades at several places. They were witnessed carrying out thorough checking of vehicles. On Airport road, police has erected many barricades.
The areas in the east of the city including Dalgate, TRC and other places have been literally put under siege.
Most of the areas in east Srinagar have been sanitized and all the vehicles entering or leaving the area are being thoroughly checked by police and paramilitary force. The forces in these areas have set up barricades to ensure screening of all vehicles.
Reports from Shalimar said that hundreds of police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in every nook and corner. Shalimar and its adjoining areas witnessed uneasy calm and forces have occupied 61 residential houses around the venue.
Reports said joint contingents of police and CRPF were carrying out patrolling of Dal in boats for whole day. The Shikarawallas have suspended their work since Friday morning on the directions of authorities.
The Government has also announced a compensation of Rs 5000 to every shopkeeper of Shalimar, who closed their commercial establishments since Friday morning on the directions of authorities.
Tens of labourers were also witnessed white-washing the walls of residential houses around the venue under the directions of authorities.
Usually busy Boulevard road Friday witnessed thin movement of people and transport. All the vehicles plying were being checked thoroughly.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad Friday afternoon visited Shalimar to take stock of the preparations. Omar was briefed about the security and other arrangements for the concert.

RESTRICTIONS IF NEEDED: DGP
The authorities have decided to clamp restrictions if need arises. “In case people try to disrupt peace, restrictions can be clamped,” Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad told Greater Kashmir. “The areas which have remained volatile like downtown and other towns will witness heavy deployment to foil any protest demonstration,” DGP added.
However, Prasad distanced the police from parallel concert controversy. “The decision in this regard has to be taken at administrative and we will follow that,” he said.
DGP said that fool-proof security arrangements have been made for the Zubin Mehta concert. “Every step has been taken to ensure safe concert,” Prasad said.

UNIVERSITY STUDENTS STAGE PROTEST:
On the call of Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, protests erupted in Kashmir University against the music concert.
Soon after the Friday congregation, students in large numbers assembled outside the University Masjid. They chanted pro-freedom slogans and took out a march against the musical concert of Zubin Mehta.
The students marched towards the Sir Syed Gate of the University, holding placards and raising slogans and then they went to the Humanities Block where they staged demonstrations for about half an hour.   
The students were demanding immediate cancelation of the musical concert. The class work in many departments was hampered with students preferring to join protests.
The protestors alleged that the concert is meant to paint a rosy picture of Kashmir before the world.
Reports from Kupwara said that people assembled after prayers and held strong protests against the concert. Reports said protests were held Trehgam, Kralpora, Handwara and Langate.
Reports from central District of Ganderbal said that soon after the Friday prayers youth staged anti- Zubin Mehta concert protests at Beehma and Preng in Kangan. Hurriyat Conference (G) leader Abdul Salam Inqilabi led the protests at Beehama.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association Friday held a protest demonstration against the concert in the High Court premises.
Hundreds of lawyers who gathered in High Court compound after Friday prayers were shouting pro-freedom and anti-concert slogans.
Addressing the lawyers, president High Court Bar Association, Mian Abdul Qayoom said that holding of the musical concert in Kashmir is an attempt to “crush the freedom movement,” against which Kashmiris should remain wary.
“No Kashmiri should participate in the musical concert as Kashmir has a history which is replete with grisly incidents like rapes, massacres and other untold incidents,” Qayoom said.
He said incidents like Kunan Poshpora, Chotabazar, Gawkadal, Bijbehara should not be forgotten as these incidents have left behind a trail of trauma which we should keep in mind to avoid participating in the musical concerts.

GEELANI CONTINUES TO BE UNDER HOUSE ARREST:
Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, who continues to be under house arrest, was again not allowed to offer Friday prayers today.
A spokesperson of Hurriyat (G) said Geelani was not allowed to offer Friday prayers in local mosque. “A large contingent of police is surrounding his residence and the visitors are subjected to harsh questioning and enquiries,” he said. Meanwhile, the spokesman said that amid government move for musical concert, the media men from West continue to visit Hyderpora residence of Geelani.
Meanwhile, some other separatist leaders that included Muhammad Yusuf Naqash, Javid Ahmad Mir were arrested by police.
A senior police official here said that that some more separatist leaders are likely be put under house arrest or would be arrested. “We might carry nocturnal raids,” he said.

PP TO BOYCOTT CONCERT:
National Panther Party (PP) State Youth President and former Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Rafiq Mir Friday staged a sit-in protest against Zubin Mehta concert at Press Enclave here. He demanded that the proposed expenditure utilized on the show should have been used to rehabilitate families adversely affected during turmoil in Kashmir.
Terming the show as rubbing salt on the wounds of people here, he said: “State government has failed to provide basic necessities to the people. Instead of doing something to tackle the issue of unemployment and human rights abuses, the government is organizing music shows to insult the wounds of people.” He said that he had received directions from party high command to boycott the concert. (WITH SHEIK NAZIR & SHAHID RAFIQ)

Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Sep 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Sep 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Sep 2013 00:00:00 IST




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