Kashmir: rumour about presence of militants in the city centre disrupts life in Srinagar

Srinagar: Panic gripped the city-centre here following rumours about the presence of militants inside a local hotel. Within no time shopkeepers downed their shutters and ran helter-skelter, vehicular movement on the roads got disrupted and streets presented a deserted look.  

Eye-witnesses said that a few gunshots were also heard, following which people ran for cover. Youth took to streets and clashed with police and security forces and pelted stones. In turn, security forces resorted to tear-smoke shells and pepper gas shells to disperse them. This created chaos in the commercial hub and the hustle and bustle in the commercial hub came to a standstill.

Reports said that a ‘mentally-challenged’ person was arrested after he entered a local hotel (Taj in Budshah Chowk) and allegedly ransacked the windowpanes of the hotel. Following his arrest, clashes erupted in the area. Police later saida “mentally-challenged” person created a scene inside the said hotel that triggered rumours. The person was later taken into custody.

Immediately, after the incident, militants opened fire on anArmy convoy near SKIMS hospital in Bemina on the outskirts of Srinagar city, which was retaliated by the Army. The area was cordoned off and combing operations started to track down the militants.

Defense spokesperson, Rajesh Kalia told local news gathering agency, KNS that three soldiers were injured in the attack and those were referred to the base hospital for treatment. Militant outfit, Hizbul-Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the attack. In a tele-statement to a local news agency, the Hizb spokesperson, Burhanud-Din said that the attack was carried out against the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled visit to the state on April 2. The Prime Minister is expected to innagurate the South East Asia’s longest road tunnel between Chenani and Nashri on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. The 9.2 km-long tunnel, which is a part of the ambitious 286 km-long four-laning of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, will reduce the distance between the two capital cities of the state (Jammu and Srinagar) by around 30 kms.

Meanwhile, security agencies here have been put on high alert in view of inputs about militant movement in Srinagar and to ensure trouble-free upcoming by-polls for Srinagar parliamentary constituency that would go to polls on April 9. Additional barricades are reportedly being set on all prominent roads in the city. Besides, CCTV cameras are being reportedly installed at atleast 50 places and a Maharashta-based company has been hired by the police for the job.

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