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Shutdown in Valley, photojournalist hurt

Excelsior Correspondent
Srinagar, Feb 3: A photojournalist was grievously injured as violent clashes erupted in several parts of Valley during a shutdown called by separatists today against recent awarding of death sentence to a local Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militant by court in West Bengal last week.
Most of the shops, commercial establishments and fuel stations were closed since early morning in summer capital here while public and private transport movement was partially hit. Due to shutdown, very few street vendors were visible on city’s otherwise busy Lal Chowk commercial hub. Security forces in large numbers were deployed at sensitive spots including in downtown to prevent outbreak of protests.
Soon after Friday prayers, dozens of youth protesters assembled in the premises of historic Jama Masjid in Nowhatta area of downtown here and started sloganeering. The youths resorted to heavy stone-pelting on security forces deployed in Nowhatta and also hurled two petrol bombs on paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel there. Police responded by firing teargas canisters.
A photojournalist, S Irfan, received grievous head injury after he was hit by a stone on his head. The injured photojournalist was rushed to nearby hospital where he received four stitches but he was out of danger. Similar clashes erupted at HMT area of Srinagar outskirts after Friday prayers but no one was reported injured. To prevent widespread protests, police detained Mirwaiz Umar Farooq inside his house at Nigeen here.
The shutdown on the call of separatists was also observed in other parts of the Valley. Although the situation remained peaceful in most of the areas but violent clashes between security forces and protesters erupted at Sopore in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district and in Papchan area of Bandipora district. Police meanwhile described the situation on Friday in Kashmir peaceful.

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