Security personnel stand guard at a check point during restrictions, in Srinagar, Sunday, August 18, 2019. P Image Credit: TI

Srinagar: Restrictions were tightened in some parts of the city on Sunday following incidents of violence a day earlier, even as the first batch of Haj pilgrims returned to Kashmir from Saudi Arabia, officials said.

The added restrictions continued in many parts of the valley for the 14th day on Sunday.

Restrictions were reimposed in certain areas that witnessed trouble on Saturday after the curbs were eased in several areas of the city and elsewhere in the valley, the officials said.

They said protests took place at around a dozen places in which several protesters were injured.

However, the exact number of injuries was not available, they added.

The officials said the flights carrying around 300 pilgrims landed at the Srinagar airport in the morning.

Elaborate arrangements have been made for the smooth movement of pilgrims to their respective destinations, they said.

“Only one family member is allowed at the airport to receive the Hajis. A fleet of the State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses has been deployed to facilitate the movement of Hajis and their relatives with the coordination of all district administrations,” the officials said.

The security forces, they said, have been directed to allow passage of pilgrims and their relatives who have already been issued passes through the areas where restrictions are in place.

Government spokesman Rohit Kansal had on Saturday said the restrictions were eased in 35 police station areas of the valley. However, several places witnessed clashes between groups of youths and security forces, leading to reimposition of the curbs.

On Saturday evening, Kansal said protests took place at six places in the valley in which eight persons suffered injuries.

Landline telephone services have been restored in several areas of the city as the process to bring more areas on the telecom map was going on, the officials said.

Some private vehicles were seen plying the civil lines areas of the city and the other district headquarters of the valley, they said. Some shops were also open in those areas, they added.

The Jammu and Kashmir police is maintaining pressure on militants to isolate them so that they cannot mislead the general public, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh has said.

In an interview with PTI, Singh, who has been leading the force since last year, thanked the people of the state for their cooperation in maintaining law and order.

“While the security teams comprising police, para-military forces and army have done a splendid job, one should not neglect the cooperation extended by people of the state,” he said.

Security presence in the state has been stepped up and stringent restrictions put in place since August 5 when the Centre scrapped provisions of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and also divided the state into two Union Territories.

Singh, a 1987-batch IPS officer, refused to comment on the Constitutional changes made in the state, but said, “I believe an era of positive development has been ushered in the state. And people should understand good things about it.”

He said as a police force head it was his duty to ensure that a handful of terrorists, who are mainly from Pakistan, are not allowed to misguide the general public in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our counterinsurgency unit is maintaining pressure to keep these terrorists at bay and definitely we have been able to do it,” he said.

Singh says the force is following a two-pronged strategy to maintain peace and tranquillity in the state.

“While the counterinsurgency grid is maintaining pressure on terrorists, the remaining security forces are ensuring that law and order is under control.”

Security forces would not allow either of the situation to get out hand, he said.

He acknowledged that there have been minor incidents in past 13 days “but they were controlled locally by police officials. There were injuries to some civilians and policemen but they were discharged after first aid.”