Srinagar: Police on Sunday said that it was not ‘advisable’ to hold any public gathering in the high-security Gupkar area of Srinagar amid inputs about ‘vehicle bound IEDs being used to target’ civilians and establishments of armed forces even as it denied placing PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti under house arrest.
“It was learned that PDP was scheduled to hold a Youth Convention at Fairview, a government bungalow which is also the residence of Ms Mehbooba Mufti, on Gupkar Road,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesman said, “Gathering of at least 1000 people was expected. Given the prevalent COVID situation and larger security implications resulting from allowing such a large number of people and accompanying cars and vehicles into a high-security zone, it was not advisable to allow such a large flow of people and unchecked vehicles.”
He said there are “credible inputs of vehicle bound IEDs being used to target civilians and high-security installations.”
“The Gupkar Road houses high-security buildings of various organizations and security-sensitive establishments and intelligence agencies,” the spokesman said.
He said allowing the large number of vehicles to be parked in this high-security zone would have jeopardized the security in the area.
“It is pertinent to mention that no such gatherings and amassing of vehicles were allowed on the road earlier too,” he said.
Moreover, he said, no official residence has been known to have hosted large political rallies on Gupkar Road in the recent past.
“Legal Orders for necessary restrictions on the convention were passed by the Executive Magistrate, South Srinagar keeping in mind the COVID protocol and security sensitiveness of Gupkar zone,” he said, adding, “It is completely incorrect that Ms Mufti is under house arrest.”
However, he said, the local administration had advised PDP to apply for holding this convention in a more open area in view of COVID and security reasons.
Earlier, a news report quoting a senior member of the Peoples Democratic Party, said that Mehbooba Mufti has been placed under house detention in view of the Youth Convention.
He said, “We have not received any official communication from the administration regarding permission for ‘not allowed’ so far, however, he asked the administration, “Is COVID only for PDP? and not for the other political parties who are holding rallies across Kashmir”.
“This speaks volumes about the government and their ironies regarding the protocols,” he said.