Kashmir observes shutdown

Kashmir Sunday observed a complete shutdown on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir observes shutdown
Photo: Aman Farooq/ GK

 Kashmir Sunday observed a complete shutdown on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership against the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir. 

All business establishments in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley remained closed, while roads wore a deserted look as public and private transport remained off the roads. 

Modi was on a day-long visit to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh to inaugurate or lay foundation of development projects.

All roads leading to Sher-e-Kashmir international convention center (SKICC) in Srinagar—the venue for PM's function in the state's summer capital—were closed for civilian movement for the second consecutive day Sunday "for security reasons". A source said sharpshooters were deployed atop high-rise buildings on the road leading to the SKICC, where Modi inaugurated various projects, to thwart any militant attacks. 

Sharpshooters were also deployed on nearby hills to keep militant threats at bay, the source said.

Groups of police and paramilitary central reserve police force men, holding automatic weapons, stood guard along the SKICC roads, while government forces were seen patrolling on shikaras and water boats to keep watch on movements in the lake.

The Boulevard Road from Badyari Chowk onwards remained closed with barbed wire, while a large number of forces were deployed there since Saturday, a witness said.

However, people residing on the banks of the Dal lake and tourists were allowed to move from Badyari Chowk after proper frisking and checking. The ghanta ghar (clock tower) at Lal Chowk Srinagar was also sealed by the police.  A witness told Greater Kashmir that forces established concertina wires and barricades at entry and exit points of ghanta ghar. In downtown area of Srinagar, undeclared restrictions were imposed as forces stood guard along its roads.

Several checkpoints were established by forces in the city and its outskirts for frisking of passerby. Many resistance leaders were placed under house arrest "to prevent any rally against Modi's visit to Kashmir". 

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was detained by the police from his Maisuma residence on Sunday morning and later lodged at police station Kothi Bagh. Others who remained under house arrest include chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and chairman People's Political Party engineer Hilal Ahmad War, Javid Mir, Ashraf Laya, Mukhtar Waza and others.   Former legislator Er Abdur Rasheed was also detained by the police. The JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik had called for shutdown to protest Modi's visit to the state.  Authorities also suspended mobile internet service after midnight as a "precautionary measure" in view of Modi's visit, an official said. 

Train service between Baramulla and Banihal was also suspended as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident.  

However, a police officer said the day passed off peacefully.  

"The PM's arrival and departure was smooth," he said.

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