Srinagar turned into a massive mess as administration imposed unannounced restrictions across the city by blocking or creating choke points on all major roads to prevent Shia Muslims from holding annual Muharram processions.
The commuters faced trouble to reach their destinations – offices and shops – on a busy Tuesday morning as roads were blocked by armed policemen, leading to massive traffic jams across the city.
“I left home at 9:30 and I reached office around 12 noon today due to massive traffic jam at several places,” Huda, a bank employee, told The Kashmir Walla.
Uraisa, who works at a law firm in Dalgate area, said the choke points were established at scores of places across the Old City due to which she had to change several routes to reach the office.
“Despite travelling on my scooty, I reached at 11:30 am instead of routine 10:00 am,” she said.
A lady from Soura said authorities should have informed beforehand about the restrictions.
“Everyone was panicking as people in my bus were late to their offices and workplaces. Our bus driver was asked to take a turn from Munawarabad and was not allowed to proceed to Lal Chowk,” she said. “It was better for administration to have announced shutdown today rather than making us suffer like this.
Due to choke points and diversions, many people said they could not find local transport.
“I had an appointment with doctor at Magarmal Bagh; however I couldn’t find any sumo or bus. I had to no option but to board a rickshaw which also took time due to traffic mess and road blockages,” said Ali Muhammad from Hawal area of Srinagar.
Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir zone Vijay Kumar said the decision to disallow Muharram processions at several places was taken to “defeat the ill designs of vested interests” who try to disturb peace.