17 arrested in Kashmir for defying lockdown orders

Srinagar, Apr 7 (PTI) Strict restrictions on the movement of people in Kashmir to contain the spread of coronavirus remained in force for the 20th consecutive day on Tuesday, even as police arrested 17 persons for defying the lockdown orders here, officials said.

Acting tough against violators of prohibitory orders, police on Monday arrested the 17 persons.

Police arrested three persons, including a shopkeeper, and seized a vehicle for violating the prohibitory orders in the jurisdiction of police stations Nishat and Harwan.

In the jurisdiction of police stations RM Bagh and Nowgam, police arrested nine persons and also seized eight vehicles for violating the government prohibitory orders, they added.

Similarly, the officials said, in the jurisdiction of police station Khanyar, police arrested five persons for violating the restrictions.

Cases under relevant sections of the law have been registered against all of them and further investigation has been initiated, they said.

Several persons have been arrested across the valley since the lockdown began as police has warned of strict action against those violating the restrictions imposed by the Government in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Tight curbs are in place across the valley in view of the surge in the number of positive cases in Kashmir.

The security forces have sealed off the main roads in the valley and erected barriers at several places to check the unwanted movement of the people and to enforce the lockdown, the officials said.

Markets across the valley were shut and public transport was off the roads with only pharmacies and groceries allowed to open, they added.

Educational institutions across Kashmir have been closed, while all public places including gymnasiums, parks, clubs and restaurants have been shut down more than a week before the nationwide lock down announced by the Prime Minister.

While the Prime Minister announced the country-wide lockdown on the evening of March 24, the union territory administration here had on March 22 announced a lockdown across Jammu and Kashmir till 31 March as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The administration said essential services including healthcare personnel have been exempted from the restrictions.

Restrictions were first imposed in many parts of the valley on March 19 to contain the spread of the virus infection. The measures were taken after a 67-year-old woman from Khanyar area of the city, who had returned on 16 March from Saudi Arabia after performing Umrah, tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

The authorities have started an aggressive contact tracing campaign across the union territory to contain the spread of the infection.

The total number of positive cases in Jammu and Kashmir has gone up to 106. While two patients have died, four have recovered while another seven have tested negative after undergoing treatment. These patients will undergo another test before they will be discharged from hospital.

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