By Shahid Tantray, Photojournalist | Srinagar, Kashmir
Normal life was disrupted on Thursday, in Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar, as curfew was imposed in nine police station areas following sectarian clashes between Shiite Muslims and Sunnis on Wednesday.
The district magistrate, Srinagar, yesterday evening announced curfew in the nine police station areas of the city after sectarian clashes broke out near Hawal area in the old city.
Thousands of Government forces men were deployed in strength to enforce the curfew strictly. Police had erected mobile bunkers and barbered wire barricades on the road to stop the vehicular movement. The roads leading to downtown areas were also blocked by forces. Banks, education institutes, shops, post offices and other business establishments were closed in old city.
In old city’s Saraf Kadal, a CRPF personnel said, “We have been deployed here since 3 am and 5 am,” adding, “to enforce the curfew in a strict manner.”
The government forces were seen stopping ambulances and patients in many old city areas and they were directing them to go back, eyewitnesses said. Photojournalist, Videographers were also stopped in Nowhatta by CRPF troopers and asked to go back and get the permission from district magistrate.
There were no reports of clashes in any part of the summer capital till this report was filed. Police spokesman said, “That the curfew will continue tomorrow on Friday to maintain law and order adding the situation is under control across the city.”
The police stations are Nowhatta, M R Gunj, Safakadal, Khanyar, Rainwari, Nigeen, Lal Bazaar, Zadibal and Parimpora. According to eye witnesses, a group of youth belonging to a particular community took to streets in Zadibal and Saida Kadal area of the Old City and staged demonstrations to lodge their protest against an objectionable religious inscription on a Chinese product. Chanting pro-Islam slogans, the youth marched towards the neighboring Hawal area.
The areas under M.R Gunj, Nowhatta, Khanyar, Safakadal, Lal Bazar, Nigeen, Rainawari, Zadibal, and Parimpora were sealed by police and Paramilitary forces since yesterday night.