Centre now admits ‘incident’ of protest in Kashmir

Srinagar: Soldiers deployed on the streets of Srinagar on Aug 13, 2019.

New Delhi,  Three days after denying media reports that there were large-scale protests after Friday prayers in the Valley, the government on Tuesday acknowledged that there was an “incident” at Soura in Srinagar in which “miscreants mingled” with locals and resorted to stone pelting at security forces.

The Union Home Ministry spokesperson tweeted: “Stories in media on a said incident in Soura region of #Srinagar. On 09/08, miscreants mingled with people returning home after prayers at a local mosque. They resorted to unprovoked stone pelting against law enforcement forces to cause widespread unrest.

“Law enforcement authorities showed restraint and tried to maintain law & order situation. It is reiterated that no bullets have been fired in #JammuAndKashmir since the development related to #Article370,” the post said, tagging the J&K Police and the Information and Public Relations department.

On August 10, the Union Home Ministry had termed as “completely fabricated and incorrect” a Reuters report claiming there was a protest by 10,000 people in Srinagar on Friday when restrictions were eased.

The Ministry said the news report “originally published in Reuters and which appeared in ‘Dawn’ claimed there was a protest involving 10,000 people in Srinagar”.

“This is completely fabricated and incorrect. There have been a few stray protests in Srinagar/Baramulla, and none involved a crowd of more than 20 people,” it had said in a tweet.

On Friday, the J&K administration had eased prohibitory orders to allow prayers in mosques and help people make arrangements for Monday’s Eid celebrations.

J&K was put under lockdown on August 4 ahead of the government’s move to revoke Article 370 that accorded special status to J&K.