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Amid Heavy Troop Deployment, Eid Celebrated Peacefully in J&K Barring Few Incidents, Say Police

Referring to the law and order situation, Inspector General of Police SP Pani said a few arrests were made but these were "absolutely in the ambit of law" and all those arrested were produced before the court and legal the action was being taken.

New Delhi: Barring a few minor incidents in which a few were injured, Eid al-Adha festivities passed off peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir and there was no firing anywhere in the Valley, the police said on Monday.

Inspector-General of Police (Kashmir) SP Pani said the Jammu and Kashmir administration was committed to maintain peace and order and the state police worked in this direction.

"The Eid namaz was offered in different mosques and after the prayers, the congregations dispersed peacefully. There have been a couple of minor localised incidents of law and order which have been handled very professionally,” he said, adding that a couple of injuries were reported from these incidents. "Otherwise, the entire Valley situation is peaceful. I strongly deny any incident of firing anywhere in the Kashmir Valley."

On the eve of Eid al-Adha, restrictions were eased in the Valley to allow people to shop for the festival. But the usual hustle and bustle of one of the biggest festivals in Kashmir was missing.

Normal life in the Valley has been paralysed owing to heavy security deployment, restrictions on movement, and curtailing of communication links after the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state on August 5.

Last Friday, people were allowed to visit neighbourhood mosques and offer prayers there.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said that Eid prayers were offered in all mosques in the Valley peacefully. "Today, namaz was offered by the people in every mosque. Namaz took place in every locality," he said.

Malik said that security restrictions were relaxed on Saturday and Sunday and people did shopping in normal conditions and all arrangements were put in place.

"But in troubled places, we will try to ensure peace because we don't want even a single life to be lost or people get injured. It is the responsibility of the government to protect our citizens," he said.

But the festive buzz was missing as Eid prayers were limited to neighbourhood mosques, authorities imposed strict controls and security forces fanned out across towns and villages, restricting the movement of people and prohibiting congregations in large grounds.

Rohit Kansal, principal secretary and the designated official spokesperson of the government, echoed Malik’s comments and said Eid was celebrated in 90% of the places.

Kansal said the district and divisional administrations carried out a number of activities, including interacting with maulvis and common people, ensuring trading activities in markets, and as a result the Eid festival has been extremely peaceful.

Roads were deserted across large swathes of the Valley, the silence broken only by police sirens and IAF helicopters hovering overhead. Kashmiris woke up to armed personnel deployed in every possible corner asking them to remain indoors.

The Eidgah ground and places such as the Hazratbal shrine, the TRC ground and the Syed Saheb mosque were quiet and desolate.

There were reports that former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were allowed to offer Eid prayers but no details were available. Several political leaders, who were picked up on August 5, offered prayers at the Centaur hotel on the banks of the Dal lake, officials said.

The government provided them with an imam at the hotel where they have been kept since their detention, they added.

‘Arrests made in the ambit of law’

IGP Pani said no medico-legal case has been reported so far and, as per the statistics available with the police, injuries to only a couple of people have been reported. "I am saying they were admitted in the hospital, but they are absolutely stable," he added.

Referring to the law and order situation, Pani said a few arrests were made but these were "absolutely in the ambit of law" and all those arrested were produced before the court and legal the action was being taken.

"At this stage, every district has got its own priority and depending on the local situation, depending on the incident, they respond and they try to maintain the order," he said.

The IGP also said there has been a malicious campaign on social media and the contents of these were strongly refuted by the police. "We request citizens not to pay attention to such things.

We have strongly denied this," he said, referring to a tweet by a Pakistani journalist in which he alleged a fratricidal incident involving security forces in the Kashmir valley.

Pani said lifting or imposing restrictions was a dynamic process and the administration was giving some relaxation as per the local situation. He thanked the people for cooperating with the administration in maintaining the order and said the reasonable restrictions imposed at certain sensitive places were completely maintained.

He said the authorities were watching the situation very carefully and the overall policy of the government has been to ease restrictions as much as possible.

President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday declared the abrogation of special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 after both Houses of Parliament passed a resolution in this regard.

On Saturday, he gave assent to a bill passed by the Parliament to split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh -- which will come into existence on October 31.

(With inputs from PTI)