Restricted eid on the streets of Jammu and Kashmir
Silence broken only by police sirens and armed personnel's instruction to remain indoors
Srinagar: Eid prayers on Monday were limited to neighbourhood mosques in Kashmir as authorities imposed strict controls and security forces fanned out across towns and villages, restricting the movement of people and prohibiting congregations in large grounds. Eid-al-Adha prayers concluded without any violence, police said.
The festive buzz was missing with roads deserted across large swathes of the Valley, the silence broken only by police sirens and IAF helicopters hovering overhead. Kashmiris woke up to armed personnel deployed in every possible corner asking them to remain indoors. The Eidgah ground and places such as the Hazratbal shrine, the TRC ground and the Syed Saheb mosque were quiet and desolate this Eid — that comes exactly a week after the Centre announced that the J&K's special status under Article 370 was being revoked and the state being split into two Union Territories.
There were reports that former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were allowed to offer Eid prayers but no details were available. In many places, people could be seen requesting security personnel to let them through. One of them was Mohammed Asgar, a resident of Indira Nagar in this main city of the Valley. "I want to wish my brother who stays across the road but I am not being allowed to do so," said Asgar, who wanted to meet his ailing brother in Shivpora, a distance of less than a kilometre from Indira Nagar.
A Muslim woman gets emotional as she celebrates Eid with Kashmiri students who could not reach their families in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, in New Delhi, on Monday. Pic/ AFP
Both Indira Nagar and Shivpora are within cantonment limits and this is the first time in 30 years of insurgency that such strict restrictions are in place, residents said.
Rohit Kansal, principal secretary and official spokesperson of J&K governor, said, "The Eid 'namaz' passed off peacefully in mosques across the state. Three stray protests took place but no one was injured." The Union Home Ministry said people came out in good numbers to offer Eid prayers and 'namaz' was offered at prominent mosques in Srinagar and Shopian.
PDP MP Nazir Ahmad Laway, however, said security was not relaxed in Kashmir Ghati and people weren't able to offer Namaz. "The situation is such that I am not able to contact my own family members there. Security has not been relaxed here on the occasion of Eid, Kashmir Ghati is still under high security," Laway told ANI.
BJP hits out at Chidambaram
On Sunday, former home minister P Chidambaram had said if there was a Hindu majority in Kashmir, the BJP wouldn't have touched Article 370. The BJP on Monday termed as "very irresponsible and provocative" Chidambaram's comment. BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Congress was giving the issue a communal angle. "What he has said is an attempt to give communal colour to the issue even though the decision is in national interest," Naqvi said.
Meanwhile, the customary exchange of sweets between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers along the IB did not take place on Monday as Pakistan refused to send its personnel, officials said. The Delhi Transport Corporation on Monday cancelled the Delhi-Lahore bus service.
SC hearing on plea against Article 370 today
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Tuesday a plea challenging the Centre's decision to impose restrictions and "other regressive measures" in Jammu & Kashmir following the revocation of the provisions of Article 370. The plea filed by Congress activist Tehseen Poonawalla is listed for hearing before a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, M R Shah and Ajay Rastogi.
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