In Old Srinagar, only a faint idea of ‘last curfew’ on Aug 14

Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq doesn’t remember when government last imposed curfew in Old City, considered to be his bastion, on Pakistan’s I-Day on August 14.
In Old Srinagar, only a faint idea of ‘last curfew’ on Aug 14
File Photo

Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq doesn't remember when government last imposed curfew in Old City, considered to be his bastion, on Pakistan's I-Day on August 14.

And like Mirwaiz, many Old Srinagar residents fail to recollect the year they witnessed curfew on this particular day.

This year, however, the government imposed curfew in several Srinagar areas to foil pro-Pakistan rallies and hoisting of Pakistan and ISIS flags by youth on Pakistan's I-day.   

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Mirwaiz said: "I don't remember when I was placed under house arrest on August 14 and when the government imposed curfew in old city on this day. I believe the last time curfew was imposed in the old city on August 14 was in nineties." 

Pertinently, Srinagar's Old City has been in news for the past few months due to hoisting of Pakistani and ISIS flags by youth, every now and then, especially after Friday prayers.

"We were apprehending protests after Friday prayers. Pakistan flags usually appear in old Srinagar areas after the congregational Friday prayers are over. So curfew was imposed to keep the situation under control," said a senior police official, insisting not to be identified.  "We were under tremendous pressure and told that no Pakistani flag should appear in any part of the city on August 14. Whenever any flag appears in any part of the city, New Delhi-based media makes an issue out of it. This time around we decided not to give the media any such chance."

Mirwaiz rejected the reports that there is any presence of ISIS in Kashmir, "but youth hoist these flags to give vent to their anger as the Government has choked their space."

"Youth have started believing that these flags are their weapons as it triggers a widespread debate and makes the forces personnel uncomfortable. Otherwise it's an established fact that there is no presence of ISIS in Kashmir," said Mirwaiz.

"This government is targeting youth and suppressing them which has led to a large scale resentment against the present regime. Youth have been pushed to wall and whenever they get a chance to give vent to their anger, they do this by either hoisting flags or throwing stones," he opined.

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