Barring parts of south Kashmir, Srinagar; life returns to normal in valley

Barring parts of south Kashmir, Srinagar; life returns to normal in valley
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Srinagar, Mar 1: Life returned to normal in Kashmir valley after remaining crippled for two days due to strike called by separatists against raids conducted by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and mass arrests in the valley, besides alleged attempts to tamper with Article 35-A.
However, business and other activities remained crippled in downtown Srinagar and parts of south Kashmir due to a strike and restrictions imposed by the authorities.
Restrictions have been imposed on Friday morning as a precautionary measure in the down town and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK) Srinagar following tense situation after rumours were spread that Article 35 A and 370 were amended and Jamaat-e-Islamic (JeI) was banned through different ordinances issued by the centre last night.
Shops and business establishments are doing normal business and traffic on all routes was plying normally in restriction free areas in the summer capital, Srinagar, and other major towns and tehsil headquarters in the valley, barring Shopian and Anantnag. All the shops reopened in the main business hubs in civil lines, including historic Lal Chowk, Gonikhan, Residency Road, Maulana Azad Road, Mahraj Bazar, Batamaloo, Iqbal Park, Dalgate, Regal Chowk and Budshah Chowk.
Hundreds of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) and state police personnel have been deployed to strictly implement restrictions in M R Gunj, Safa Kadal, Khanyar, Nowhatta and Rainawari.
Reports of normalcy were also received from other parts of the Valley, including Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora and Pattan in north Kashmir and Budgam and Ganderbal in central Kashmir.
However, life remained crippled in for the third successive day on Friday in south Kashmir district of Shopian, where two Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants were killed by security forces in an encounter on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, restrictions were imposed on Friday as a precautionary measure in Anantnag town and adjoining areas, where security forces were directing people to remain indoors.
Business and other activities resumed in other parts of south Kashmir, including Kulgam and Pulwama.
Friday prayers not allowed in Jamia Masjid
Friday prayers were not allowed in the historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar, where curfew-like restrictions have been imposed since this morning as a precautionary measure.
Officials said that restrictions were imposed in down town and Shehar-e-Khas (SeK) Srinagar following tense situation after rumours were spread that Article 35 A and 370 were amended and Jamaat-e-Islamic (JeI) was banned through different ordinances issued by the centre last night.
All gates of historic Jamia Masjid in the down town, stronghold of chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, remained closed for the third successive day on Friday. Mirwaiz, who was scheduled to address Friday congregation this afternoon, has also been put under house arrest since this morning.
The historic mosque was closed on Wednesday and Thursday following a two-day strike called by separatists against raids conducted by National Investigation Agency (NIA) and mass arrests in the valley, besides alleged attempts to tamper with Article 35-A.
A large number of security forces and state police personnel remained deployed outside the Masjid and adjoining areas to stop any movement on the roads. “There was also no ‘Azaan’ (call for prayers) in the historic Masjid today,” local residents said, alleging that nobody was being allowed to enter the area.
However, prayers were offered in the Valley, barring in mosques on main roads in the areas where restrictions were imposed.
Friday prayers were offered at Hazratbal shrine, which houses the holy Relic of Prophet Muhammad, on the bank of Dal Lake though the number of devotees was again very less as compared to even normal days as people could not come from other parts of the valley fearing trouble.
Reports of offering of Friday prayers were also received from other parts of the valley.