Strict restrictions imposed in Kashmir

Scores of vehicles seized, FIRs registered, several arrested
Security forces patrol Srinagar's lalchowk to implement the lockdown [Mubashir Khan/ GK]
Security forces patrol Srinagar's lalchowk to implement the lockdown [Mubashir Khan/ GK]

Day after breaches in Corona Curfew, strict restrictions were imposed on Wednesday to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Kashmir.

Streets wore a deserted look on Wednesday as shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir where security forces closed the majority of the roads with barbed wires and barricades to stop the movement of people.

Officials said that restrictions were tightened on Wednesday in view of the huge rush of Eid shoppers on Tuesday when traffic jams were witnessed at several places in Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir.

In view of the violation on Tuesday, the Srinagar administration withdrew the provision of partially permissible activities, including opening of shops selling vegetables, fruits, grocery, meat, chicken and milk — from 0800 hrs to 1200 hrs in the city till further orders.

Police here said that several vehicles were seized, FIRs registered and several persons arrested who violated lockdown norms.

All the roads and market places, including Lal Chowk remained sealed to prevent movement of people. Shops and businesses were closed while all the roads were deserted as traffic and people were off the roads in downtown, civil lines, uptown in Srinagar. But, people with emergency or associated with essential services, including doctors and paramedics, were allowed to move on the roads after proper verification at various checkpoints established by police.

Reports of restrictions also came from other parts of the valley, including Sopore, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara in north and Shopian, Anantnag, Pulwama and Kulgam in south Kashmir. Shops and business establishments were closed and roads wore a deserted look in these districts, where police parties were patrolling their respective areas to ensure strict implementation of the lockdown.

In some areas in downtown, civil lines and Srinagar outskirts banks were also not allowed to function after heavy rush of people was witnessed on Tuesday. However, people could be seen queued up in large numbers, without adhering to social distancing, outside banks and ATMs to withdraw money.

An official said that movement of government officials is being facilitated through a pass system from Wednesday. "All Heads of Departments (HODs) were requested to place requisition for passes immediately," he added.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that he has directed security forces deployed on the ground to treat identity cards of media persons as curfew pass. Police have also established helpline numbers to facilitate movement of doctors and paramedics.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration last week extended the 'COVID curfew', which was scheduled to end on Monday, till May 17 in all 20 districts of the Union Territory. Eid-ul-Fitr, the culmination of the holy fasting month of Ramadhan, also falls within the extended corona curfew-period.

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