Srinagar: Curfew-like restrictions were imposed on Sunday in most parts of Kashmir Valley to foil separatists’ plans to hold protests to observe the first death anniversary of Parliament-attack convict Mohd Afzal Guru.
Barring Handwara in north Kashmir, all major towns in the Valley have been put under security restrictions with heavy deployment of CRPF and police personnel aimed at thwarting any protests, official sources said.
Section 144 of CrPC, which bans assembly of four or more persons, has been imposed in several districts, including Srinagar, sources said, adding that the situation has so far been peaceful with there being no reports of any untoward incidents in the Valley.
Mobile internet services, too, were snapped in the Valley today as part of the precautionary measures. Internet services on mobile phones and plug-in devices were suspended early on Sunday morning although broadband connections through landline phones were functioning as usual. There was no official explanation for the move, but sources said that the services may have been temporarily withdrawn to prevent their use for the spreading of “rumours".
Guru was hanged and buried inside Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9 of last year. Separatists have issued a call for a three-day shutdown till 11 February, which marks the death anniversary of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) founder Mohd Maqbool Bhat. Bhat was hanged and buried inside Tihar jail 20 years ago.
Soon after daybreak, police vehicles fitted with public address systems made announcements across the Valley about the imposition of restrictions in vulnerable areas, sources added. Authorities have detained several top separatist leaders ahead of Guru’s death anniversary.
Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who returned home to the Valley yesterday from Delhi, was put under house arrest soon after his arrival here. JKLF chairman Mohd Yasin Malik, who had announced that he would hold a protest at the historic Lal Chowk today, has gone underground to avoid being taken into preventive custody. All roads leading to Lal Chowk have been sealed and the public is not being allowed to proceed towards the area.