Sun. Oct 24th, 2021

Muted Eid Celebrations In Kashmir As Severe Restrictions Return

Tough restrictions returned as the government said sporadic clashes took place in Srinagar after security was eased on Saturday.


Streets in Jammu and Kashmir were deserted on Monday as Eid-al-Adha celebrations took place under severe security restrictions, especially in Srinagar. Eid prayers have not been allowed in most mosques in Srinagar, where curfew-like curbs were re-imposed on Sunday amid fear of violence.

Eid prayers were held in smaller mosques in neighbourhoods, according to photos shared by the government.

Politicians including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who have been under arrest since last week, would be allowed to offer prayers in nearby mosques, officials said.

Tough restrictions returned as the government said sporadic clashes took place in Srinagar after security was eased on Saturday.

Large parts of the state have been under a security lockdown since last week, when the government scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir and decided to split the state into two union territories.

People in Srinagar had come out in large numbers to shop for Eid on Sunday before the restrictions were back. “People are coming out and shopping for Eid. A large number of people came out today. Wherever there were restrictions, they were relaxed. We’re trying to facilitate people who want to travel to Srinagar to meet their dear ones,” said Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning Commission, on Sunday.

Arrangements were being made to facilitate transport for people, he added.

Later in the day, sources said police vehicles were seen making announcements on loudspeakers asking people to return to their homes, and shopkeepers were told to shut down.

Thousands of security personnel remain in the Kashmir Valley and phone and internet services have still not been restored.

In Srinagar, a handful of markets have been set up for Eid festivities and mobile vans are being provided for door to door delivery of vegetables, LPG cylinders, poultry and eggs, the Press Trust of India quoted officials as saying. Special telephone booths were also being established to help people communicate with their relatives.

Last Friday, people were allowed to visit neighbourhood mosques and offer prayers there. However, large gatherings were not allowed in any part of the Valley.

On Saturday, a Home Ministry spokesperson said there had been “stray protests” in Srinagar and Baramulla, none of which involved a crowd of more than 20 people.

The Home Ministry has dismissed media reports about a protest by some 10,000 people in Kashmir valley as “fabricated and incorrect”.

Rubbishing reports of “huge protests” in the Valley, police chief Dilbagh Singh said there has been no untoward incident “barring minor stone-pelting which was dealt with on the spot”.

The government said people must not believe in rumours about alleged incidents of firing in Kashmir valley.

Omar Abdullah’s National Conference has appealed in the Supreme Court against the government’s decision. In its petition – filed by party MPs Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi – the party claimed the centre’s move was “illegal”.

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