Kashmir: Fearing more protests post Friday prayers, govt banks on curfew, weather gods

An policeman pulls concertina wire to lay a barricade on a road during a curfew in Srinagar. Photograph:( Reuters )

Srinagar Jul 15, 2016, 06.31 AM (IST) Ishfaq-ul-Hassan
The Mehbooba Mufti government in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is banking on strict curfew and weather gods to keep off the protestors post the namaz in the Kashmir Valley on nervous Friday. Strife-torn Kashmir woke up to an overcast sky and a drizzle providing a flicker of hope to the law enforcing agencies in maintaining order on Friday.

Official sources said maintaining peace on Friday is the biggest challenge for the government given the fact that post namaz, Kashmir has witnessed protests and stone pelting even during the peace times.

Official sources said rains could play a dampener for the protestors who may find it difficult to organise the protests post Friday namaz.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has imposed strict curfew in all the 10 districts of the Valley to prevent any escalation in the protests and street violence which has consumed 37 lives so far. Over 3,100 people, including 1,500 security personnel, have been injured in the street violence over the last one week.

Except the Indian government-owned BSNL, services of all mobile telephone networks have been suspended in Kashmir in view of the nervous Friday. Mobile Internet continued to remain suspended for the seventh day in a row.

Only the BSNL fixed line broadband services are operational in the valley. “Curfew will be imposed throughout the districts on July 15. No public or vehicular movement, except medical emergencies would be allowed”, said an official spokesman.

Authorities are wary given the fact that it is the first Friday since the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani in Kokarnag in south Kashmir last week.

Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik have appealed to the Imams of the Mosques to lead Nimaz-e-Jinaza (funeral prayers) in absentia for the slain protestors. The leaders have condemned the use of brutal force against the protesters and compelling the traders and transporters not to support the ongoing struggle.

They have appealed to the people to not to fall prey to the nefarious designs and follow the combined programme in letter and spirit, said a joint spokesman of the leaders.

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asghar Hussain Samon reviewed overall the law and order situation in the Valley in a meeting on Thursday. It was was attended by senior police officials of various districts through video conference.