Downtown Srinagar shuts to protest against ‘forces highhandedness’

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Srinagar

A complete shutdown is being observed in the downtown area of the Srinagar city on Saturday the “forcest highhandedness,” after congregational Friday Prayers.

The shutdown call had been given by the Jamia Traders Federation against “desecrating” of historic Jamia.

All the shops, business establishments and other offices are closed in Nowhatta, Gojwara, Bohrikadal, Rajourikadal and Khwaja Bazar areas of Srinagar.

Reports said that around 2500 shopkeepers and locals have assembled in Jamia Masjid Nowhatta and are protesting against the high handedness of Police.

Reports quoted traders saying “they won’t open their shops unless police won’t stop the harassment”.

Soon after the Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addressed the congregation inside the Jamia Masjid, nearly a dozen youth took out a protest rally. The large contingents of police and paramilitary CRPF, deployed outside the mosques’ gates, responded by firing tear smoke canisters and pellets. Chased, the protestors took refuge inside the compound of the mosque.

The clashes intensified, resulting in injuries to several among the protesters and shopkeepers, many of them hit by pellets in their faces, chests, and eyes.

Several women were left unconscious after the forces fired PAVA shells inside the mosque,  pellets even hit the wooden pillars of the historic Mosque.

As per the traders, scores of the tear-smoke shells and pellets landed inside the mosque and injured the people offering prayers.

The Hurriyat (M) says that the historic Jamia Masjid will be closed for further prayers until the blood spilled on its floors is cleaned.

“The mosque has been closed for further prayers, as there is blood spilled all over the floor. The same blood which has oozed from the wounds of those youth who were hit by pellets,” the Hurriyat (M) spokesman said.

He said that blood of the injured is spread all over the mosque and needs to be cleaned first, adding that boys were only protesting when police started firing pellets and tear gas canisters at them.

Reacting strongly to the action of the police inside the Jamia Masjid, Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the deployment of police in and around Jamia Masjid.

“Heavy deployment of Govt forces around JamaMasjid even in this holy month leading to tension & agitation. Dozens of civilians injured after forces resorted to pellet &teargas shelling! Large numbers of people unable to come out of the mosque. Condemn the deployment and forces action,” Mirwaiz wrote in a tweet.

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