The army on Sunday asked people not to march towards its Srinagar headquarters on Monday on the call of separatists as the Kashmir Valley witnessed complete shutdown on Sunday to protest the killing of seven civilians at Sirnoo village in Pulwama district.
All shops and business establishments were closed and traffic was off the roads. The train service between Baramulla and Banihal was also suspended.
Restrictions were imposed in Pulwama and its adjoining areas, mobile internet snapped in south and central Kashmir while internet speed was slowed down in other parts of Valley. Restrictions were also imposed in Srinagar’s old city and Maisuma areas.
In Pulwama town, people were not allowed to venture on the roads and asked to stay inside their homes.
To prevent protests, additional security force personnel were deployed in Pulwama and other restive parts of Kashmir. “The situation is tense and people have been asked to remain inside their homes. It is just like an unannounced curfew,” Pulwama resident Abdul Qayoom said.
After the killing of seven civilians protesting the anti-militancy operation in Pulwama on Saturday, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) had called for a three day strike and asked people to march towards Badami Bagh cantonment, where the headquarters of the 15 Corps is located, on Monday.
“We will all march towards Badami Bagh on Monday and ask the army that instead of killing us daily, they should kill us all,” Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.
Asking people not to heed the call to march to Badami Bagh, the army termed it an attempt by proxies of Pakistan to destabilise peace.
A defence spokesman, in a statement, said the army along with all the security agencies and the civil administration is fighting terrorism and proxy war, sponsored by Pakistan in Kashmir.
“The objective of forces is to bring peace and normalcy in the Valley with the support of people. The forces have eliminated a large number of terrorists trying to infiltrate along the Line of Control and neutralised an even larger number of them in the hinterland this year to improve the overall security situation, making huge sacrifices themselves,” the spokesman said adding the forces make every attempt to avoid any loss of civilian lives in cross-fire and minimise collateral damage to property.
“Loss of any civilian life is always painful for the security forces. However, the vested interests are continuously at work to instigate and mobilise gullible youths to encounter sites.”
The march to Badami Bagh cantonment is another such attempt, he said.
“We advise people not to fall prey to such designs of anti-national forces. The Indian 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.”
Meanwhile, officials said that restrictions will continue in the old city on Monday and roads towards Army’s 15 Corps headquarters will be sealed on Monday. Sources said the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will be placed under house arrest to prevent him from leading the march towards Badami Bagh.