Protesters defy curfew, clash with security forces in Kashmir Valley

World Friday 29/July/2016 18:21 PM
By: Times News Service
Protesters defy curfew, clash with security forces in Kashmir Valley

Srinagar: Defying curfew and restrictions, protesters on Friday took to the streets at many places across Indian-administered Kashmir and clashed with security forces, after authorities thwarted a march to Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area by taking top separatist leaders into custody.
At least 20 people were injured in the clashes, which erupted after Friday prayers between the protesters and security forces across the Valley, a police official said.
In Rohama area of Baramulla district, a mob set ablaze a newly-constructed police building while militants hurled a grenade towards security forces during stone pelting in Shopian town of south Kashmir, the official said.
The grenade failed to explode.
The official said three persons received bullet injuries after security forces opened firing to disperse a stone-pelting mob near Gushi Bridge in Kupwara district of north Kashmir.
He said the condition of all three injured persons was stated to be stable.
The official said 17 others, including a few security personnel, were injured in the clashes reported from Shopian,
Anantnag, Bijbehara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Sopore, Ganderbal and Kangan areas.
Clashes were also witnessed in several parts of the city.
Curfew was on Friday reimposed in four districts of south Kashmir and Srinagar city, while authorities clamped restrictions in some other areas of the Valley to thwart a planned march by separatists.
"Curfew was imposed in entire south Kashmir and Srinagar, while restrictions have been imposed in north and central Kashmir," the police official said.
He said all the four districts of south Kashmir -- Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama and Shopian -- were under curfew to maintain law and order.
Restrictions were imposed in north Kashmir and some areas of central Kashmir to thwart the march announced by separatists to Jamia Masjid, he added.
Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were taken into preventive custody by police as they tried to defy house arrest orders to march towards the historic Jamia Masjid.
Protests broke out across Kashmir Valley on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces.
In the ensuing clashes between protesters and security forces, 47 persons, including two policemen, were killed and 5,500 were injured.
On Thursday, the authorities had lifted curfew and restrictions from across the Valley, except Anantnag town,
after some improvement in the situation.
Mobile internet services continued to remain snapped in the entire Valley, while postpaid mobile telephony services have been restored across all networks.
The incoming facility on prepaid connections has also been restored, but the outgoing calls are barred on such numbers.
Meanwhile, normal life remained paralysed at several places in the Valley for the 21st consecutive day on Friday in view of the strike call given by the separatist camp.
Schools, colleges and business establishments remained closed due to the strike while public transport remained off the roads.
Attendance in government offices was very thin, the official said.
The separatist camp has extended the shutdown call in Kashmir till July 31.
"The shutdown will continue as usual with daily relaxation after 7pm till late hours," a joint statement of the separatists, including both factions of Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF led by Yasin Malik, said late last night.
The separatists asked the people to hold a sit-in on the roads tomorrow and offer late afternoon and evening prayers together on roads.
They also asked people to observe an hour-long 'blackout' from 8pm.
On July 31, the separatists asked people to visit graveyards of "martyrs" to offer special prayers, and paint slogans and graffiti on walls and roads.