Even after the three-day-long curfew was lifted and normality was restored in most of the downtown localities, a violent sectarian clash between unruly groups forced the authorities to re-impose restrictions in a Shia-dominated area here on Saturday.
District Magistrate Baseer Ahmad Khan told The Hindu that the curfew was lifted on Friday night from areas under the jurisdiction of all the nine police stations which reeled under restrictions of prohibitory orders for the last three days. “On Saturday morning, unruly groups of the two warring sects gathered in Zadibal and Nowhatta areas and resorted to intense stone pelting on each other,” Mr. Khan said.
“Consequently, we have issued prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC in the areas falling under police stations of Zadibal and Nowhatta, besides Urdu Bazar Police Post in Fatehkadal area,” he said. He added that the curfew, would remain in force indefinitely.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, Ashiq Bukhari said Nowhatta, Zadibal and Urdu Bazar localities in the core of Srinagar downtown would remain strictly under curfew on Saturday. According to him, each of the groups was accusing police of “inaction”, complaining that some trouble makers had not been arrested.
Mr. Bukhari asserted that police had arrested and detained almost all the people identified in the stone pelting of Wednesday and Thursday. He did not mention the number of the detainees. However, official sources said nearly 20 stone-pelters had been detained, some of them along with their family heads. However, on the Chief Minister’s orders, the head of the families had been released.
Nowhatta, Gojwara, Rajourikadal, Hawal Chowk, Sazgaripora, Kralpora, Mirza Kamil Sahab and Almagari Bazar in Zadibal remained tense with stone-pelting and clashes on the fourth consecutive day on Saturday. Official sources insisted that they had no count but civilian sources said over a dozen houses suffered damage on Saturday.