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Authorities impose restrictions, thwart ‘march to Badami Bagh’

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Srinagar, Dec 17: Amid shutdown in the Valley, authorities imposed restrictions in Pulwama district and parts of Srinagar on Monday to thwart the march by separatists to the Army’s Chinar Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh here against the killing of seven civilians in government forces’ firing in Pulwama on Saturday.

Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments remained closed in the city and main towns, while police and paramilitary personnel remained deployed in strength to thwart any “untoward incident”.

The separatists, under the banner of the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, had Saturday asked the people to march to the Corps’ headquarters at Badami Bagh area in protest against the civilian killings.

The call for the march came after seven civilians died and scores of others were injured when government forces opened fire at them near the site of an encounter in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district after three militants and a soldier were killed there on Saturday.

The separatists had also called a three-day strike following the incident.

Roads leading to the Chinar Corps headquarters here were sealed and restrictions under Section 144 of the CrPC were imposed in Pulwama district and eight police station areas of Srinagar, the officials said.

Mobile Internet was also suspended in Srinagar during the night as a “precautionary measure”, they said

The curbs remained imposed in the territorial jurisdictions of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal, MR Gunj and Ram Munshibagh police stations of the city while partial restrictions were in place in Maisuma and Kralkhud police stations as well.

Officials said the restrictions were imposed “as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident”.

The roads leading to the Badami Bagh area were sealed and no movement of people or transport was allowed towards the Army base.

The police had on Sunday issued an advisory, saying traffic would not be allowed to ply on Pantha Chowk-Sonwar-Dalgate Road stretch. It had asked the people traveling to and from south Kashmir to take Bypass Road while those travelling between the Nishat and adjacent areas and the city centre were asked to adopt Boulevard-Badyari Road. No traffic was allowed to ply on Gupkar Road stretch from Grand Place crossing.

The Army had also advised the people to not pay heed to the “misleading call” by the JRL.

“The Army is always with the people of Kashmir and would foil all such evil attempts of terrorist-separatist-Pakistan nexus to pit the civilian population against the security forces. The public is once again advised not to pay heed to this misleading call by JRL,” an Army spokesman had said Sunday.

During the unrest of 2016, separatists had called for a similar march to the Chinar Corps headquarters and then also authorities had undertaken similar measures to foil the march.

Meanwhile, the shops, gas stations and other business establishments remained shut in the city due to the strike. Public transport was off the roads while fewer private cars, cabs and auto-rickshaws were seen plying in some areas.

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