Srinagar, December 2
Activities on roads, including vehicular and pedestrian movement, witnessed a considerable decline in view of restrictions and Friday protests while shops and business establishments remained closed for 147th day today in support of separatists strike call in Kashmir valley. Meanwhile, all gates to historic Jamia Masjid, which was off limits for people since July 9, barring on last two weekends, were opened and devotees were allowed inside the mosque, where Friday prayers will be offered for the second time since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Anantnag.
Friday prayers were allowed after 19 weeks on October 26 in the Jamia masjid, stronghold of moderate Hurriyat Conference (HC) chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq. However, separatists, like previous two weekends, have given relaxation in strike for 48 hours from tomorrow. But, they have urged people to march and assemble in historic Lal Chowk from Sunday evening to Monday. Police said there was no curfew or restrictions in any part of the Kashmir valley though security forces remained deployed in strength to maintain law and order. But, the situation on the ground was entirely different as all roads leading to Maisuma, stronghold of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) near here, have been closed with barbed wire at Budshah chowk, Haji Masjid, Gaw Kadal, Red Cross road and Madina Chowk.
Historic Lal Chowk has also been sealed and all roads leading to the chowk have been closed with barbed wires. The busy Amira Kadal bridge over river Jhelum, connecting main business hub Hari Singh High Street (HSHS) with Lal Chowk has also been closed as security forces had put barbed wire on both sides of the bridge.
People are being directed to take Budshah bridge to reach to civil lines. Shops and business establishments remained closed while only few private and public vehicles were plying on the roads in view of the restrictions in civil lines and protests after Friday prayers.
Meanwhile, all educational institutes wore a deserted look as students preferred to remain away in support of separatists call though examinations for 12th grade were going on as per schedule in Kashmir. Examination for class 10th concluded on November 28 in the valley.
All shops were closed in the main business hubs in civil lines, including Lal Chowk, the nerve centre of the city, Hari Singh High Street (HSHS), Gonikhan, Residency road, Moulana Azad road, Mahraj Bazar, Batmaloo, Iqbal park, Dalgate, Regal Chowk and Budshah Chowk.
Private transport and some passenger vehicles were plying only on Moulana Azad road since Maisuma and Lal Chowk was closed. The situation was no different in uptown, where shops and business establishments remained closed though few vehicles could be seen plying on the airport road, which witnessed heavy rush of vehicles, both private and public, from last couple of days.