SRINAGAR: Day 14th and the normal life continued to be paralyzed in Kashmir Valley on Friday.
The security forces in riot gear re-imposed restrictions on the movement of residents in several areas of Srinagar and in some other towns of the Valley. Elsewhere, shops and other businesses remained shut and public transport was off the roads. Also, less number of private vehicles was seen running on the roads as compared to past few days’ bustle.
Internet and mobile phone services also remained suspended in Kashmir. However, landline phone services have been restored in the Valley whereas voice calls on mobile phones are working in few areas of Kupwara district.
The authorities had a few weeks ago announced reopening of primary, middle and high schools in the Valley. Though teachers and other staff are reporting to duty, students have stayed away as parents are wary of sending their wards to schools. Now, major Valley schools including Delhi Public School are issuing video lessons and written assignments to their students for completing them at home.
Reports pouring in here said that the authorities did not allow on Friday congregations at major mosques and hospices including Srinagar’s Jama Masjid. However, people offered Friday prayers in respective locality mosques.
After the Friday namaz, hundreds of residents held protests in Srinagar’s Soura area. Witnesses said later the police fired teargas canisters and swung bamboo sticks to quell stone-pelting crowds.
Leader, family taken hostage by militants
The authorities on Friday clamped indefinite curfew on Jammu & Kashmir’s eastern Kishtwar town and its neighbourhood after suspected militants snatched service rifle from the personal security officer of a local leader of People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Before driving away in the politician’s car, the gunmen kept him, his family and domestic help hostage for the whole night, the police and family said.
The officials said that the police and other security forces are conducting searches in Kishtwar, whereas all exit routes have been sealed to ensure the rifle snatchers do not escape from the town. They said that that the town was brought under curfew for both to facilitate a smooth search operation and also ‘as a precautionary measure’.
Kishtwar is politically as well as communally sensitive and the town which has almost equal population of Hindus and Muslims has witnessed communal clashes in the past.
Giving the details of Friday’s incident, Kishtwar’s deputy commissioner Angrez Singh Rana said that three unidentified gunmen forced their entry into the residence of the PDP district president Sheikh Nasir on Thursday night....