Kashmir Under Curfew, Scores Hurt in Clashes

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SRINAGAR: The Kashmir Valley continued to remain under curfew on Sunday, a day after the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru at a prison in Delhi. 

The restrictions on the movement of people were tightened Sunday morning as there were many violations of the curfew yesterday, official sources said. 

Afzal Guru, 2001 Parliament attack convict hailing from Sopore in north Kashmir, was hanged and buried quietly inside the prison premises Saturday morning.

Situation turned ugly Sunday near his home town after protesters defied curfew and clashed with paramilitary forces.

Hundreds of people defied the curfew and clashed with government forces who fired tear gas shells to disperse the crowds. Unconfirmed reports said a youth died near Batwani village in Sumbal after he jumped into a frigid river while trying to escape after forces firing tear gas to disperse the mob. He has been identified as Tariq Ahmad Bhat son of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat resident of Batwina. Police however said he drowned after a boat capsized there.

At least five persons were injured, two of them critically, after paramilitary forces reportedly fired upon the protesters at Watergham Sunday evening.

The injured were identified as Ubaid Ahmad Rather, Sajad Ahmad Bhat, Me’rajudin Bhat, Rayees Ahmad Sheikh and Athar Mohammad all residents of Watergam.

Among the injured Ubaid and Sajad were rushed to SKIMS, Srinagar in critical condition.  Doctors said Sajad has received a bullet injury in head and termed his condition critical.  

In Ladro village clashes also broke out after protestors defying curfew tried to march towards the residence of local MLA. “They tried to attack the residence of Javed Dar, MLA and a former minister, police said adding forces engaged the protestors which led to violent clashes and four persons were injured,’ a source said.

Meanwhile, mobile Internet service remained down for the second day as a precautionary measure and news channels were also not being aired by cable TV operators. 

Newspapers also failed to hit stands this morning due to curfew. 

None of the nearly two dozen newspapers hit the stands as authorities blocked their circulation, reports said.

All the local cable operators were instructed by the authorities to suspend their operations in Srinagar city on Saturday morning. The Internet connectivity also remained suspended in most parts of the Valley, although none of the service providers confirmed the suspension of the services. 

At least 40 people were injured in the day-long clashes between security forces and violent protestors on Saturday, even as authorities clamped curfew on the entire valley in the wake of Afzal Guru’s hanging in Delhi. 

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