Day 5: Govt Tests Waters With Breaks in Curfew

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20 Injured As Protests And Clashes Continue After Guru’s Hanging

SRINAGAR: With tentative relaxations in a few areas in outlying districts, and nearly a day-long break in central Srinagar and peripheries, curfew continued to remain in force in the Kashmir Valley for the fifth day running after the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru, even as around 20 persons, including six forces personnel, were injured in separate incidents of violence during protests.

Shops and businesses in areas where curfew was eased, however, remained closed due to a strike called by Syed Ali Shah Geelani till Friday.

Guru’s native area of Doabgah in Sopore was rocked by protests for the fifth consecutive day, with residents accusing police and paramilitary men of damaging residential houses.

Four persons were injured in forces action when protests broke out last evening as uniformed personnel began to withdraw, residents said, adding that one of the wounded protestors was arrested from hospital.

Six forces personnel were reported to have been injured in clashes in the Mazbug, Batpora, Rahim Sahib, and K Colony areas of the town, though protests in the Seer Jagir, Achabal and Ladura passed off incident-free.  

Some areas in the town’s Sopore police precinct were given a two-hour relaxation in curfew from four in the afternoon, a police spokesman here said.  

In Srinagar, protests broke out in some old city areas last evening when police and paramilitary men began to withdraw from curfew duties.

Stone-pelting was reported from the Naid Kadal, Bohri Kadal, Safa Kadal Chattabal Crossing, and Rainawari where forces used tear gas shelling to disperse the crowds, and authorities re-imposed curfew in areas under the Nigeen police station where a relaxation had been announced.

Protests also broke out in the Pulwama town of South Kashmir where a two hour relaxation had been announced been announced at two in the afternoon.

The police and paramilitary men clamped down again barely half-an-hour after the curbs had been eased, reports said.

The Lawaypora and Narbal areas too were rocked by protests and clashes this afternoon, with the forces resorting to tear gas shelling.

In a continuing drive since Guru’s execution, the police today rounded up more separatist leaders, taking into custody Muhammad Rafiq Ganai of the Muslim League, Muhammad Yasin Attai of the People’s League, and Bashir Ahmad Bhat of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.

The acting chairman of  the Hurriyat (G), Muhammad Ashraf Sahrai, has been placed under house arrest, while the spokesman of the alliance, Ayaz Akba, was reported to have been shifted to the Central Jail till February 25 under police remand.

In a press release, the police gave details of curfew relaxations in the valley today, claiming that the situation had remained peaceful.

According to the police, in Srinagar, curfew was relaxed from 9 a.m. onwards in the Ram Munshi Bagh, Kothi Bagh, Saddar, Raj Bagh, Lal Bazaar, Nigeen, Zakoora, Pantha Chowk, Parimpora, Parimpora, Bemina and Naugam police precincts.

In South Kashmir, curfew was relaxed from nine in the morning onwards in areas under the Kakpora, Lassipora and Rajpora police stations in the Pulwama district , and from 10 a.m. onwards in Awanipur, the police said.

In Baramulla town, a two-hour relaxation was given at four in the afternoon in some areas coming under the Baramulla police station, it said.

In the Sopore township also, restrictions were eased from 4 to 6 in the afternoon in some areas falling under the Sopore police precinct, it added.

In Budgam of central Kashmir, a relaxation announced from 10 a.m. to noon was later extended further, the police said.

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