Clashes, Flag-Burning As Thousands Take To Streets Amid Total Shutdown At Anti-Islam Film
Srinagar – Anger against the US and Israel spilled into Kashmir streets in large demonstrations and repeated flag-burning on Tuesday amid a total shutdown against an anti-Islam film originating in the United States.
Fierce clashes broke out in a number of places across the valley leaving nearly a dozen persons injured, even as irate mobs torched a government vehicle outside the residence of the deputy chief minister in the summer capital.
Leaders of the Muttahida Ulama-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat (MUAS), a clerics body initiating the strike call later picked up by trade associations and separatist leaders, marched to the UN office in the upper city with a memorandum demanding a global ban on the offensive film.
As a precautionary measure, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Ahmad Shah and some other separatist leaders were placed under house arrest by authorities who had deployed police and paramilitary forces in large numbers in many areas.
Reports spoke of hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in separate processions in urban and rural Kashmir and chanting slogans against the US and Israel.
In Srinagar, a massive procession emerged from the Nawab Bazaar quarter of the old city and wound its way peacefully through shuttered markets and deserted streets.
Early in the morning, groups of angry youth picketed at the citys key points, paralysing traffic with stone-pelting and burning tyres.
Furious clashes were reported from Maulana Azad Road, Tengpora By-Pass, Rawal Pora, Hawal, Alamgari Bazaar, Bohri Kadal, Eidgah, Safa Kadal, Kak Sarai, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Maisuma, Batmalu and Rambagh area of Srinagar.
Groups of youth fought pitched battles with police and paramilitary forces who tried to clear the streets with cane charges and tear gas.
Clashes during processions were also reported from a number of places in outlying districts, including Anantnag, Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipur and Mir Gund.
According to reports, large processions flaying US and Israel and burning their flags were also taken out in Khanabal, Lassibal, Padgampora, Pulwama, Awantipur, Kakpora, New Khandah, Beeru, Kramshora, Neehama, Gandarbal, Noorabad, Uri, Chandanwari, Kupwara, Handwara, Langate, Shopian, Tral and other places.
In central Srinagar, the situation took a serious turn in the high security area along the Maulana Azad Road as the police and the paramilitary forces tried to disperse a demonstration with cane charges.
An irate mob besieged a vehicle belonging to the Kulgam municipality parked between the deputy chief ministers residence and a fashionable shopping mall, setting it on fire.
In a statement issued in the afternoon, the police said that the overall situation in the valley had been peaceful except for a handful of violent incidents.
Observer News Service
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