STATE TIMES NEWS
Srinagar: Authorities in Srinagar on Monday clamped curfew in the city in view of “specific inputs” about violent protests on August 5, the first anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370.
Srinagar District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal Choudhary said in an order that the curfew will come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in effect on August 4 and August 5.
Srinagar Senior Superintendent of Police has reported that a series of inputs have been received suggesting that separatist and Pakistan-sponsored groups are planning to observe August 5 as Black Day and violent action or protests are not ruled out, the DM said.
Army reviews security situation in Kashmir
Srinagar: Senior officers from Army, police and other security agencies reviewed the security situation in Kashmir on Monday ahead of the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, officials said.
A core group meeting was co-chaired by Corps Commander of Srinagar-based Chinar Corps Lt Gen B S Raju and Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh here, an Army spokesperson said.
The meeting was also attended by senior officers of civil administration, intelligence agencies and security forces, he said.
The core group reviewed the security situation and coordinated measures for the month of August amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, without giving further details.
The Centre had revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 last year and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
There are specific inputs about violent protests endangering public life and property, the order said.
Choudhary said any mass gathering would also be detrimental to efforts related to the containment of COVID-19.
The SSP report further suggests that in view of restrictions aimed at COVID-19 containment already in place, the movement and assembly of people have been prohibited, the DM said.
Thus, any such mass gathering would be detrimental to efforts related to COVID-19 containment as well, he said.
The order said the report has further made a case that to prevent such violence and loss of life/property, it’s imminent to impose curfew in the district .
Therefore, after having considered the material facts in the said report and examining the situation in backdrop of prevailing factors, I, District Magistrate, Srinagar, by virtue of powers vested in me u/s 144 CrPC hereby order complete restrictions on public movement / curfew in territorial jurisdiction of District Srinagar, the order read.
However, medical emergencies and movement of staff on COVID-19 duty with pass/valid cards shall be exempted from the restrictions, the order said.
These restrictions shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force on August 4 and 5, the order said, adding, the restrictions previously ordered on account of COVID-19 shall continue thereafter till August 8, unless revised earlier. No movement of people, except essential services and medical emergencies, was being allowed, the officials said.
The authorities sealed most of the roads and market places and sought the cooperation of the public to make the lock down a success.
Markets and business establishments across the valley were shut on Monday, while public transport was off the roads, the officials said.
However, government employees and banks have been exempted from the restrictions on producing valid identity cards or movement passes.
Construction and developmental activities have also been exempted, they added.
Security forces have been deployed in strength at several places across the valley to enforce the lockdown, the officials said, adding any violation would invite strict action.
While officials maintained that restrictions were in view of the COVID-19 situation, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti said the heightened security arrangements in the valley were being undertaken to ensure that “anger and frustration felt by people” against the Centre’s decision “remain hidden”.
“Suddenly, there is heightened security & surveillance in the valley. Not like non discriminatory COVID virus will be more active in the days approaching 5th August so clearly this is being done to ensure that anger & frustration felt by people here remain hidden,” Iltija posted on her mother’s Twitter handle which she has been using since Mehbooba was taken into custody in August last year.
The Centre on August 5 last year revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by abrogating Articles 370 and 35-A and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two union territories.