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Curfew in Srinagar ahead of August 5

August 04, 2020 07:03 AM

COURTESY HT AUG 4

Curfew in Srinagar ahead of August 5
PREVENTIVE MEASURE: There are specific inputs about violent protests endangering public life, property: Dist magistrate

Lal Chowk wears a deserted look in Srinagar on Monday. ANI
Ashiq Hussain

letters@hindustantimes.com

Srinagar : Authorities on Monday imposed a curfew in Srinagar until Wednesday fearing protests by separatists against the Centre’s move last year on August 5 to divest Jammu & Kashmir of its special status and to divide the state into two Union territories.

In an order, Srinagar district magistrate Shahid Chaudhary quoted a police report, saying separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups were planning to observe August 5 as a black day.

“There are specific inputs about violent protests endangering public life and property,” he said.

“The report has further made a case that to prevent such violence and loss of life and property, it is immanent to impose curfew in the district.”

Chaudhary added such gatherings would also be detrimental to the efforts of containing Covid-19.

The six-day Covid-19-related restrictions, which began from July 31, have also been extended up to August 8.

Jammu & Kashmir on Monday reported 590 fresh Covid-19 cases and 11 deaths that took the toll from the infection to 407. A bulk of the fatalities —377—have been reported from the Kashmir Valley.

Shaheena Akhtar, a 42-year-old Srinagar resident, said the severity of the pandemic-related restrictions suddenly intensified from Monday.

She said the security forces manning the roads were harsher and even manhandled people.

“My young daughter who was pillion riding was chased by baton-wielding security men at Hawal. They were really scared,” Akhtar said.

“Since August 5 is coming, they are forcing people to stay indoors.”

Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, said security and surveillance in the Valley have suddenly been increased.

“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,” she tweeted.

Mehbooba Mufti was among hundreds of people detained in August last year as part of measures to prevent protests against the nullification of the Constitution’s Article 370 that stripped Jammu & Kashmir of its special status.

Two other former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah who were also detained, have since been released.

A communications blackout and a lockdown were also imposed in Jammu & Kashmir in August last year.

Most of the restrictions have since been eased even as high-speed 4G internet services remain banned

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