Curfew Out, Clashes In: 20 Hurt In Pulwama Violence


Mobs Attack Army Patrol, Police Station; Pitched Battles In Town

SRINAGAR: Fierce clashes left over twenty people, most of them policemen, injured in Pulwama as authorities lifted curfew after four days on Wednesday, the town remaining shut down  and tense, even as the police rounded up nearly 15 youth for stone-pelting.

Under a clampdown since Friday when a number of civilians were injured in forces firing on crowds seething over the killing of two local Lashkar-e-Tayyaba militants, the town witnessed violence again as the district administration upheld its word to civil society hours earlier to lift curfew.

One civilian, apparently part of the fighting crowd, was seriously injured when allegedly hit on the head by a tear gas shell.

Trouble had broken out on Tuesday evening when restrictions were withdrawn, with rioters overturning vendorsÂ’ carts and pavement stalls which had appeared as the forces pulled out.

Today, the police said that mobs closed markets by attacking shops with stones when they began to open for normal business, and that 12 of its personnel were injured as they tried to quell street violence with cane-charges and tear gas.

At around 10;30 this morning, stone-pelting mobs attacked an army patrol near the Maran Chowk-Rajpora Chowk locality, but the troops exercised restraint by pulling into  a lane adjoining the police station, reports said.

The precinct building also came under attack as the crowds pushed the patrol party further down the lane, while pelting stones at the police station, they said.

Giving chase to break up the violent crowd, posses of policemen ran into barrages of stones and had to fire tear gas shells, the clashes escalating and later continuing intermittently for several hours.

One local youth is said to be in a serious condition in hospital, with the police contesting claims that he had been hit by a tear gas shell.

It said that Zubair Ahmad Pandit had been hit by a stone. 

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