Curfew in Srinagar on Aug 4 & 5 to tackle Pakistan’s dirty game

Srinagar/August 3: In the wake of security concerns on first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A, the authorities on Monday ordered curfew on August 4 and August 5 in Srinagar. And in the backdrop of prevailing situation in Jammu & Kashmir, the General Officer Commanding, Chinar Corps, Lt Gen BS Raju and Director General of Police Jammu & Kashmir, Dilbag Singh, co-chaired a meeting of a Core Group consisting of top officials of civil administration, intelligence agencies, security forces and divisional commissioner at Srinagar. The meeting was to review the security situation and ensure readiness to meet anticipated security challenges.

The Core Group reviewed the security situation in Kashmir and the progress on handling the COVID-19 challenges facing the UT. Special emphasis was given to ensure extensive security for the upcoming one year anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370.

“Senior superintendent of Srinagar has reported that a series of inputs have been received suggesting that separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups are planning to observe August 5, 2020 as Black Day, therein apprehensions of violent action or protests are not ruled out. There are specific inputs about violent protests endangering public life and property,” reads an order issued by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.

In view of restrictions aimed at COVID-19 containment is already in place, the movement and assembly of people have been prohibited to avoid spread particularly in wake of recent spike, he said. “Thus, any such mass gathering would be detrimental to efforts related to COVID-19 containment as well.”

The report has further made a case that to prevent such violence and loss of life and property, it’s imminent to impose curfew in the district, he said.
“Therefore, after having considered the material facts in report and examining the situation in backdrop of prevailing factors, I, District Magistrate, Srinagar, by virtue of powers vested in me u/s 144 Cr PC hereby order complete restrictions on public movement / curfew in territorial jurisdiction of District Srinagar.”

Further, he said, medical emergencies and movement of staff on COVID-19 duty with pass or valid cards shall be exempted from above restrictions. “Additional Deputy Commissioner (Adm), Srinagar shall deploy one Magistrate each to coordinate implementation in each Police Stations jurisdictions,” he said, adding, “These restrictions shall come into force with immediate effect and shall remain in force on 4th and 5th August 2020,” the order said, adding, “Meanwhile, the restrictions previously ordered vide this office order dated 31st July 2020 on account of COVID-19 shall continue thereafter till 8th August unless revised earlier.”

Meanwhile on LoC, the recent increased infiltration attempts and ceasefire violations were discussed. Defence officials shared that the surveillance grid and counter infiltration grid in sensitive areas have been reinforced, which has led to early detection and foiling of infiltration attempts in last few weeks. Reports indicate that the launch pads in PoK are full and Pakistani establishment is keen to push in infiltrators in the next few weeks. The armed forces are ready for any border misadventure in form of BAT (Border Action Team) actions to support infiltration.

Core Group meeting in Srinagar on Monday to review the security scenario. (Photo: News Intervention)

The Core Group discussed the need for continued intelligence based anti-terror operations with a humane touch. To address the complete ecosystem of terror organisations, the efforts to identify and arrest over ground workers (OGWs) who sustain the terror organisations will continue with vigour.

Review of security indicators show that violence level has dropped in last one year. Intelligence inputs indicate desperation in Pakistani establishment and separatists to generate violence and civil casualties in the valley. The security forces have to be wary of attacks on political workers, attacks on soldiers on leave, IED attacks and attacks on isolated posts or patrols. Concurrently law and order including COVID-19 restrictions need to be enforced for safety of the common man. The officials also discussed local recruitment which though lower than last year had seen a spurt in the last few weeks. It was decided to enhance steps to prevent local youth from joining terror tanzeems. Steps would also include proactive steps in consultation with families of vulnerable youth, and identification and arrest of instigators.

The officials also deliberated on the propaganda efforts by Pakistan. The officials cautioned against the efforts to instigate violence in the UT.

The Divisional Commissioner brought out the efforts of the administration to meet the COVID-19 challenges. He also informed about the efforts to speed up developmental activities in the last few months which has resulted in completion of 14,000 projects which were languishing for 3 to 5 years. Maximum projects approved under PMDP (Prime Minister’s Development Package) in 2015 have started. Agricultural and rural economic activity is seeing revival, however tourism industry has been impacted by the security challenge and COVID-19 in 2020. He shared that ‘back to villages’ program has started showing results with empowerment of local elected representatives.

Expressing happiness on the synchronization of actions amongst various intelligence agencies, the Corps Commander and DGP also lauded the coordination amongst different security agencies.

Sageer Ahmad
Sageer Ahmad
Sageer Ahmad is a research scholar based in Jammu & Kashmir.

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