Curfew-like restrictions in Kashmir as part of Janata curfew

Curfew-like restrictions on the movement and assembly of people were imposed in Kashmir on Sunday as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi”s appeal to observe ”Janata curfew”, even as the virtual lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus in the valley entered its fourth day.

Only government and essential services employees with valid identity cards and emergency cases were allowed to move

“Strict curfew-like restrictions on the movement and assembly of people were imposed across all districts of the Kashmir valley on Sunday morning,” officials said.

They said the deployment of security forces was strengthened and more barricades, including concertina wire, were put up at several places across the valley, including in the city here, to enforce the restrictions.

On Saturday, district administration had said that no kind of public movement or activity will be allowed anywhere in the district adding that only government officials of essential services departments with valid IDs will be allowed to move.

Concerned agencies have been directed to ensure strict enforcement  of restrictions across the district.

The order issued under Section 144 of CrPC states that the decision to impose restrictions has been taken as a preventive measure and are aimed at preventing spread of the coronavirus infection.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, Vijay Kumar had said on Saturday that extra security forces will be deployed across the valley to ensure that strict restrictions are imposed.

“It may be Janata curfew by name, but the history of Kashmir is such that whatever the situation is, the restrictions cannot be imposed without the police or security forces enforcing them,” he told reporters at a press conference.

At several places across the valley on Saturday night, the police used vehicles fitted with public address systems to announce the restrictions on Sunday and appealed the people to stay indoors.

The police also appealed the people on Twitter to observe the curfew.

On Sunday morning also, police vehicles were used to announce strict restrictions, the officials said.

Markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads, they said.

Train services also remained suspended, they added.

Educational institutions across Kashmir have already been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants have been shut down.

Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on Thursday to contain the spread of the virus.

The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from Khanyar area of the city, who had returned on 16 March from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

So far, the valley has registered only a single positive case of the infection.

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