Back to the ’90s: Barricades, bunkers return to Srinagar

Road barriers comprising metallic barricades — which officials call “speed barriers” — and sand bunkers have been set up at entry and exit points of Srinagar.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | Srinagar | Published:October 30, 2016 2:55 am
bunker175327dl1299-759 Securitymen at a bunker near Badami Bagh Cantt in Srinagar on Saturday. Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi

In a development reminiscent of the turbulent 1990s, bunkers and barricades have returned to several areas of Srinagar after three months of protests, which have often turned violent. Officials said there are inputs of an increased movement of militants in the city.

Road barriers comprising metallic barricades — which officials call “speed barriers” — and sand bunkers have been set up at entry and exit points of Srinagar, and Gupkar area, which houses several politicians, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and former CM Omar Abdullah.

Armed forces have been positioned in bunkers at Naseem Bagh, Nishat, Gupkar road and Pantha Chowk, which is the entry point of Srinagar for people travelling from south Kashmir.

Director General of Police, Law and Order, S P Vaid said the precautionary measures have been taken following reports of increased movement of militants in Srinagar. “These are essentially speed barriers meant to check the speed of vehicles. Overall, there is an increase in the movement of militants ,” Vaid said. He said orders have been given to set up prefabricated bunkers instead of the traditional ones made of sandbags. “The personnel posted there also needs protection,” he said.

In a written reply to the Assembly in June, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that 84 security camps and bunkers had been removed from across the state since January 2009. The highest number of camps and bunkers were removed in 2010, and last year five such bunkers were removed following improvement in security situation.

But ever since protests began after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter, more than 80 youths have gone missing, and security agencies fear they may have joined the militant ranks.

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  1. C
    Oct 30, 2016 at 8:05 am
    It is the ill mentality of India to always believe that muslims are its enemies.You just put the same security cover for ur hindu dominated areas and give AFSPA to forces there, then u see what reaction ur HIndus vl give U...??lt;br/gt;If only the forces are withdrawn , the situation can get normal... or else keep with this.
    1. R
      Oct 30, 2016 at 2:51 am
      And who is responsible, India? Or elements in Kashmir? Why aren't the South Kashmiris and the separatists held responsible? I hope that there are more 'freedoms' taken away - strengthen AFSPA and be firm in South Kashmir specially. These guys, their natural response is militancy - this needs to be controlled.
      1. R
        Oct 30, 2016 at 2:55 am
        India will never 'win hearts and minds' because that place is infected with Islamism. Don't bother, try and educate them and help them embrace modernity - though the primary problem in Kashmir is that they think they can win with militancy and, secondly, their Islamism that has found root there. Just look at London! No major power has really won psychologically against Islamism. Though India is secular, the illiterate Islamists in Kashmir won't care... if India ever leaves, that place up there will become a mini Afghanistan.
      2. P
        Oct 30, 2016 at 4:23 am
        Mohmmad and its puppets.