The Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday imposed severe restrictions in parts of Srinagar city and Sopore town to prevent the ‘Sopore Chalo’ March called by separatist leaders.
Both Hurriyat factions – led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq — as well as the Yasin Malik-led JKLF had earlier this week called for a march to Sopore on Friday to protest against the killings of six civilians in the past three weeks.
A senior police official said restrictions were imposed to maintain law and order in the region. “We imposed restrictions in the areas falling under seven police stations in the old city,” the official said. “The restrictions were also imposed in Sopore town.”
While Srinagar city observed a shutdown on Friday with shops, business establishment remaining closed through out the day, the police sealed all entry points leading to the old city, and deployed a large number of security personnel to foil any protest demonstration.
Authorities didn’t allow people to offer Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid in the old city.
In Sopore, clashes broke out at some places between the protesters and the security forces post Friday prayers. The police had sealed all entry points.
While all the senior separatist leaders including Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, JKLF Chief Yaseen Malik and others were taken into preventive detention, on Friday afternoon Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested after he tried to break his house detention. “He (Geelani) was arrested outside his residence at Hyderpora along with his associates by the Humhama police on Friday morning and was taken to the Humhama police station,” a Hurriyat Spokesperson said.
There have been six civilian killings in Sopore in the last three weeks. The J-K police earlier this week pasted posters of “two Hizbul Mujahideen militants”, claiming that they were “responsible” for the deaths and also announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh each for information leading to their arrest.
Separatist leaders, however, have repeatedly blamed securityagencies for carrying out targeted killings in the town.