COVID-19: Strict restrictions continue in Kashmir; most mosques, shrines closed

COVID-19: Strict restrictions continue in Kashmir; most mosques, shrines closed

Srinagar: Streets and markets remained deserted for the ninth successive day on Friday even as strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued in the summer capital, Srinagar, and other parts of Kashmir valley, where most mosques and shrines were closed.

Meanwhile, no Friday players would be offered in mosques and shrines to avoid large gatherings for congregational prayers in the valley, where a 65-year-old man became the first victims of Coronavirus while two minor siblings were tested positive for the infected on Thursday, taking the total number to nine.

J&K Union Territory spokesperson Rohit Kansal on Friday said that Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) have been advised to strictly caution all religious leaders not to call any gatherings. “Public gatherings are a major source of social contact and spread of the virus,” he added.

Official sources told UNI that strict restrictions on movement and assembly of people continued for the ninth successive day across Kashmir valley, where train service remained suspended till March 31.
Meanwhile, continuing its action against violators of government order, police has sealed many shops, hotels and educational institutes and arrested about 100 persons from Srinagar, Sopore, Handwara, Ganderbal and Anantnag in the valley since Tuesday. Over 50 vehicles have also been seized by police since Tuesday.

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 144 CrPc, barring assembly of more than three people.

Police was 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.

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

Mr Kansal had on Wednesday said that all government offices except those providing essential services have been closed till April 14.
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 SeK 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. We are running out of essential commodities, including vegetables,” Muzafar Ahmad, a resident of Nawakadal, told UNI.

Similar reports of lockdown were received from other parts of the valley, including Kupwara and Baramulla in north, Budagm and Ganderbal in central and Anantnag, Pulwama Kulgam in south Kashmir.