Day 7: Streets, Markets Deserted As Strict Restrictions Continue In Kashmir

Day 7: Streets, Markets Deserted As Strict Restrictions Continue In Kashmir

Srinagar: Streets and markets remained deserted as strict restrictions continued for the seventh successive day on Wednesday to contain the spread of Coronavirus in Srinagar, and other parts of Kashmir, where about 80 people were arrested and several shops were sealed for violating lockdown order during the last 48 hours.

Curfew-like restrictions were imposed after a woman, who had returned on March 16 from Saudi Arabia, on March 19 became the first case of Coronavirus in the Valley, where three more people were tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

The Srinagar administration on Wednesday said that the doctors suggest actual cases in community could probably be more than those tested positive for Coronavirus and urged people to remain indoors.

Asking people not to panic, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary asked them to report to designated hospitals if they have symptoms or travel history.

Shops and business establishments remained closed while streets were deserted as locals and traffic were off the roads in the Valley, where despite wet weather police vehicles fitted with public address system were directing people since early this morning to remain indoors in view of imposition of restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, barring assembly of more than three people.

Police were even using drones in some areas in Srinagar round the clock to announce restrictions on the movement of people as part of the 21-day lockdown to combat Coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, acting tough against violators of government order, many shops, hotels and educational institutes were sealed while about 80 persons were arrested by the police from Srinagar, Sopore, Handwara, Ganderbal and Anantnag in the valley during the last 48 hours.

All educations institutes, including schools, colleges and universities, remained closed in the Valley, where train services and public transport were suspended till March 31.

The administration had on Sunday announced a complete lockdown till March 31 across the Union Territory as part of its efforts to prevent spread of Coronavirus. However, people associated with 16 essential services, including healthcare, groceries, fruit, milk, petrol, banks and media have been exempted from lockdown.

The streets in uptown and civil lines were deserted as shops and business establishment were closed and traffic was off the roads though few private vehicles were plying. Despite wet weather, security forces were deployed in these areas, where people alleged they security personnel were not allowing them to move out of their houses. Similar situation was witnessed in downtown, where people also alleged that they were not allowed to move out of their houses even to buy groceries and vegetables.

Security forces have closed the main roads in downtown and other areas with barbed wires at Nawa Kadal, Rajouri Kadal, Kawdara and Khanyar. Similar road blocks remained erected by security forces at Nowhatta, Rangar stop and Gojwara. ”Since early this morning, security forces were making announcement through loudspeakers, directing people to remain indoors in view of curfew imposed in the district. The same drill has been happening from last about a week. Now we are running low on essential commodities,” Sadiq Ahmad, a resident of Nawakadal, told UNI.

The authorities have so far accommodated about 1800 people, who returned from Bangladesh, Ladakh, Bangkok, Dubai, Combodia, UK etc at 90 facilities — in different categories of risk.