Curfewed Ramazan in parts of Kashmir

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On the very first day of the holy month of Ramazan, Jammu and Kashmir Government imposed curfew in most parts of North Kashmir and old Srinagar city on Friday to thwart the march to Sopore called by separatist leaders to protest and express solidarity with the families of six persons gunned down by unidentified gunmen in different areas of Sopore town. After 1984 and 1990 this was the third time when the first day of Ramazan coincided with strike, shutdown and curfew in Old Srinagar city and Sopore. Curfew remained imposed in old city here, Sopore town, Palhalan and Baramulla townships in North Kashmir.

As usual seven police station areas in old city were put under curfew with heavy deployment of police and central paramilitary being made to check protests. CRPF men stopped vehicles at every crossing asking for Identity Cards. The restrictions were so severe that even sick people were not allowed to proceed towards hospital.

There were no restrictions in uptown except Maisuma locality but most roads, especially those leading to Srinagar-Baramulla road were blocked by barricades and razor wires.

Several crossings including at Parimpora, Palhalan, Sangrama, Pattan and at a number of points along the road leading towards Sopore were blocked by CRPF by stationing mobile bunkers on roads.

No incidents of protests or stone-pelting were reported from any areas of the summer capital during the day. Authorities locked the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta Srinagar, preventing devotees from offering congregational prayers at the mosque on the first day of Ramazan.

Hurriyat hawk who continued to be under house arrest was taken to Humhama Police Station after he along with his activists tried to break the police cordon outside his Hyderpora. Eyewitnesses told CNS that Geelani along with some of his supporters managed to come out from his residence, however, he was stopped by the police and taken to police station Humhama.

A protest demonstration was held at Narbal to condemn the Sopore killings and show solodarity with the people of Sopore. Ittihadul Muslimeen Spokesman S M Rizvi and other workers were arrested by Police near Mirgund and lodged in Police Station Mirgund. Ittihadul Muslimeen Chief Patron Maulana Abbas Ansari and president Masroor Abbas were placed under House Arrest to prevent them from visiting Sopore.

Freedom Party activists including Mukhtar Ahmed Sofi, Engineer Farooq, Zahoor Ahmed Sheikh and Muhammad Yousuf Mir were arrested by police near Pattan when they were on way towards Sopore.

Curfew remained enforced in Sopore, Baramulla, Palhalan and Pattan town in North Kashmir. Massive stone-pelting were reported from Kreeri Pattan where scores of youth attacked police and CRPF personnel with stones. The clashes between youth and police continued for hours. Police used several tear gas shells to disperse the protesting you, however, they continued to attack police and CRPF personnel.

Early in the morning additional contingents of police and paramilitary personnel were deployed as all the entry and exit points of the Sopore town were sealed. Police had also put concertina wires at crossing points at several places in the town. The CRPF and police were deployed in the lanes and by lanes of the town. Amid restrictions and curfew, few separatist leaders including Muhammad Ahsan Untoo and Shabir Ahmed Dar made it to the Sopore town and addressed people at Jamia Masjid Kranshivan. Reports said that only elderly people were allowed to offer Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid Sopore. In Rahim Sahab area of the town scores of people mostly youth tried to take out a march, but were stopped by police resulting in the clashes. Police used tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth who resorted to heavy stone-pelting. In Baramulla, three Bridges—Azadganj Bridge, Cement Bridge, and Transport Yard Bridge— connecting old town with civil line areas were sealed by forces. No civilian movement was allowed in civil line areas.

A police official told CNS that the situation in Srinagar, Baramulla and Sopore remained peaceful and no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere throughout the day.

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