In the wake of sectarian tension in Baramulla and Budgam districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday over an alleged sacrilegious marking on some shoes, the authorities imposed curfew in more than half of Srinagar on Wednesday.
Deputy Commissioner of Srinagar Baseer Khan told The Hindu that curfew was imposed in areas falling under the jurisdiction of nine police stations — Nowhatta, M.R. Gunj, Safakadal, Khanyar, Rainawari, Nigeen, Lal Bazar, Zadibal and Parimpora.
“We had serious apprehensions and some disturbing reports indicating a wider flare-up. After incidents of stone pelting in Baramulla and Budgam districts on Tuesday, miscreants gathered in Srinagar at some places and clashed, initially with the police and later with each other,” Mr. Khan said adding that nobody was injured in Wednesday’s sporadic incidents of stone pelting.
According to SSP Srinagar Ashiq Bukhari, groups of youths forced the closure of shops and stopped traffic at certain places in downtown Srinagar in the morning. While a shutdown was enforced in Nowhatta area over the detention of some stone-pelters, demonstrators staged protests at Sayeedakadal, Hawal and Sazgaripora against the purported sacrilegious marking.
As the day progressed, intense clashes broke out between people of two sects at Hawal Chowk, Alamgari Bazar, Sazgaripora and Gojwara. “Fearing that the trouble could engulf a larger area in the historically sensitive downtown, we recommended [imposition of] curfew,” Mr. Bukhari said adding Kralpora Hawal was the worst-affected locality where two groups fought each other even after curfew was declared in the evening.
A police spokesman said in a release on Wednesday night: “The police have taken cognisance of some skirmishes between two sectarian communities in Zadibal area. The civil and police administration are monitoring the situation. There are no reports of anybody getting injured. However, sporadic incidents of stone pelting have been reported.”
Sources said that after Tuesday’s demonstrations, the police seized about 10 pairs of the controversially designed shoes of a Chinese company. According to reports on Wednesday, the situation was tense in some Shia localities but no sectarian clash was reported from anywhere in the Valley.
According to the Controller of Examinations, Kashmir University, all examinations scheduled on November 29 have been postponed.