Clashes, protests amid restrictions

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Oct 23: Amid curfew like restrictions, protests and clashes broke out at several places across Kashmir against killing of truck conductor, Zahid Rasool Bhat, in which several people including cops were injured.
The curfew like restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar and South Kashmir as a precautionary measure after separatists called for protests after Friday prayers against killing of Zahid.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had called for a joint protest at Jama Masjid in Nowhata area after Friday prayers.
Authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in the areas falling under seven Police Stations of Nowhatta, MR Gunj, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safa Kadal, Maisuma and Kral Khud.
Police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were heavily deployed in these areas. They had blocked the roads and lanes with concertina wires and iron barricades to prevent any movement of people and traffic.
Due to restrictions, Friday prayers were not held at Jama Masjid Srinagar. Large number of Police and CRPF personnel were deployed outside the Masjid and no one was allowed to enter the Masjid.
Police had already put under house arrest and arrested several separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Mohammad Yasin Malik  and Javed Ahmad Mir to foil their protests.
Clashes broke out at Habba Kadal area of old city this morning. Youth came out on streets and pelted stones on police and CRPF who lobbed teargas shells to disperse them. Clashes continued for nearly an hour in the area after which additional contingents of CRPF were deployed.  Protests also broke out at Hyderpora, Nowgam, Narbal and Sarai Bala areas.
Clashes broke out in the evening in the areas of Habba Kadal, Nawab Bazar, Hawal, Nalahmar Road and Maisuma soon after the restrictions were lifted. Police fired teargas shells and pepper gas to disperse the protesters.
Partial shutdown was observed in parts of Srinagar including Lal Chowk, Budhshah Chowk, Jehangir Chowk, Batamaloo and Karan Nagar areas.
The curfew-like restrictions continued for fifth consecutive day in Anantnag and Bijbehera towns of South Kashmir.
Clashes broke out at many places including Khudwani and Qoimoh areas of Kulgam district today. The district observed shut down against killing of Zahid. A cow shed belonging to Bashir Ahmad was gutted after a teargas shell land in it during clashes at Khudwani in Kulgam.
In Achhabal area of Anantnag district, protesters attacked police and CRPF with stones injuring one cop, Uttam Singh. One more cop was injured during clashes at Dooru.
Clashes also broke out at Palhallan area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Scores of youths took to streets soon after Friday prayers protested. The protesters pelted stones on Police and CRPF and they in return fired teargas. The clashes were also reported from Kupwara and Sopore areas of North Kashmir.
Police have meanwhile arrested four Hurriyat (G) activists from Srinagar and Pulwama during protests. The four have been identified as Sajad Lone, Umar Adil, Mehraj-ud-Din Rabbani and Bashir Qureshi.
A police official said the situation in Kashmir valley remained peaceful barring few incidents of stone-pelting. “Dozens of Muharram procession were taken out today in many parts of the Valley which were attended by thousands of mourners. Police had made elaborate security arrangements to facilitate these religious congregations,” he said.
Police said a youth was injured after an unexploded teargas canister exploded in his hand in south Kashmir’s Shopian district during clashes against the killing of militants.
A police spokesman said that after completion of Nimaz-e-Jinazah or funeral prayers of two militants killed yesterday in an encounter with security forces, a group of youths went violent and started pelting stones at police post Imam-Sahib and a police camp Imam-Sahib in the district.
“Police maintained utmost restraint and tried to pacify the mob. The mob did not relent and began to barge inside the police camp. Police baton charged and used tear smoke shells to disperse the agitated mob,” the spokesman said, adding: “In this process, one un-exploded tear smoke shell was picked up by a youth namely Adil of Padgampora in Awantipora area of Pulwama district which exploded in his hand resulting in injuries to his right hand.”
The spokesman said that the injured youth was taken to Shopian hospital for treatment wherefrom he was referred to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura here for further treatment. “His condition is stable,” the spokesman added.


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