Sopore under siege, people in distress
Armoured vehicles, deserted streets with sealed lanes and by lanes, this is the common scene at every 300-400 metres in Sopore town of North Kashmir's Baramulla district.
The town is reeling under curfew and restrictions over the past 41 days since pro-freedom protests broke out in Kashmir against the killing of popular militant commander Burhan Wani.
As one enters the streets of old parts of Sopore, all the entry are sealed with barbed wires while as each lane is flocked with paramilitary and JK Police forces.
The forces have restricted movement of people on the streets while as vehicles are turned back at the entry points of these areas.
When this reporter tried to enter the Old Sopore in his vehicle, security forced denied the entry of the vehicle saying the area was sealed on all sides.
"The area is sealed and vehicle movement is not allowed from this point," a policeman told this reporter.
According to residents, they are living under suppression as forces have unleashed a reign of terror in these areas.
"Besides daytime arrests police and other security forces resort to nocturnal raids and detain youth on the pretext of their involvement in stone pelting and their participation in protests," said an elderly.
Besides sealing all the lanes and by lanes to restrict the movement of people, forces have erected tin sheets and wooden logs as part of their shield to remain unhurt during the clashes with youth.
"Streets have been blocked purposely to avoid getting hurt with stones hurled at cops by stone pelters during the law and situation," said a police official.
He said the old parts have been sealed with barricades and huge deployment of forces to avoid the incidents of stone pelting and violent protests in the area.
"The situation is returning to normalcy here as the area has not witnessed clashes from past few days," the police official said.
Meanwhile police sources said around 50 youth including some Hurriyat activists have been arrested from past one month in the wake of the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8.
"Besides, police conducts nocturnal raids to detain the youth who are found involved in stone pelting incidents in the area. Before arrests, we assess the video footage available with us and later identity the youth for their arrests," said a police official.