Life disrupted in Valley, Clashes leave many wounded


KL News Network


Repeated shutdowns and curfews have paralysed normal life in Kashmir. YASIR MUHAMMAD

Normal life was affected in Kashmir on Friday though transport – both public and private – was plying in many parts of the city here.

Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments remained closed due to the strike.

There was comparatively less public activity today because of Friday as people apprehend law and order problems after the congregational prayers.

The officials said schools and other educational institutions were closed.

Similar reports were received from other district headquarters of the Valley, they said.

Batamaloo area of Srinagar city witnessed massive protest and clashes shortly after the culmination of Friday prayers. Large number of people assembled at Reka Chowk Batamaloo and pelted stones on the deployed forces, who retaliated with tear-smoke shells. As the clashes intensified and more and more youth resorted to stone-pelting, the forces personnel fired a number of bullets in the air to disperse the agitating protesters.

The clashes continued for hours. Protesters were protesting against the civilian and militant killings in Kashmir.

Top pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani continued to remain under house detention, while Hurriyat (m) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was placed under house arrest as he reached at his residence after offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid.

Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, media advisor of the Mirwaiz, said that the Hurriyat chairman was released from house arrest at 12:30 pm. “He was put under house detention again at 2:30 pm after he reached his Nigeen residence,” said Islam.

Meanwhile, the members of Jamia Auqaf accused the authorities of trying to limit the number of Namazis at the historic mosque by placing restrictions on the movement of people. “Barricades had been placed at several entry points to the area to prevent large scale participation of Namazis,” they alleged.

Reports and eyewitnesses said that a large number of youth caught hold of a police man in plain clothes who allegedly was busy in taking photographs in Jamia Masjid. As soon as the Mirwiaz Umar Farooq left the grand mosque, forces cordoned off the mosque while youth present in the mosque locked the doors. Government forces earlier used tear-smoke shells to disperse the youth who resorted to massive stone-pelting. Reports said the cop allegedly abducted by youth was beaten up. A police official however denied the reports that the man thrashed and abducted by ‘stone-pelters’ was a cop.

A pro-freedom procession was taken out from Jamia Masjid Sopore while the participants raised anti-India slogans. A large number of people part of the procession clashed with government forces when they were prohibited to proceed towards main chowk. The intense clashes between the Forces and people left many people injured. The protesters alleged that government force resorted to tear-gas shelling without any provocation, a claim refuted by police.

Reports from Bandipora district said that police resorted to aerial firing to break up clashes in Plan area after congregational Friday prayers.

Witnesses said that youth clashed with police by hurling stones and bricks at them who responded by firing teargas shells.

“A police rakshak vehicle came under heavy stone pelting near Nag Masjid in Plan. Police personnel inside the vehicle fired some shots in air to disperse the protesting youth,” they said.

The intense clashes witnesses said continued for hours and many protesters as well as cop were wounded.

Intense clashes between civilian protesters and forces erupted at various places in southern parts of Kashmir. Reports said that soon after the encounter in Arwani village of Bijbehara town ended, clashes erupted in Islamabad, Kulgam and Pulwama districts.

Eyewitnesses said that clashes erupted in Bijbehara, Arwani, Kaimoh and Pulwama. They said at least 15 persons were injured in these clashes.

Clashes erupted between protesters and the government forces at bus stand and Aabgar areas of Tral township of Pulwama district in south Kashmir after Friday prayers.

Reports said that as soon as Friday prayers ended at Khankah Faiz Panah, a protest rally was taken out towards bus stand Tral where protestors pelted stones on forces. Forces fired tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters.

A pro-freedom procession was taken out from Central Jamia Masjid in Rohumu village of Pulwama district that was led by senior separatist leader Abdul Samad Inqalabi. The procession culminated peacefully. Earlier funeral prayers in absentia was offered for the slain militants and civilians killed in Kashmir so far.

The five-month uprising in the Valley has left 97 people dead and thousands others injured. (CNS)


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