3 Cops, 1 Civilian Hurt Amid Protests Clashes; 4 Held
SRINAGAR: Life remained totally paralysed here on Friday as the government reverted to a stringent curfew across the Kashmir Valley to foil Syed Ali Shah Geelanis call for a march to the Srinagar Eidgah for the funeral prayers of Muhammad Afzal Guru who was executed at the Tihar Jail last week in the parliament attack case.
Running parallel with a separatist strike since Saturday, the curfew across Kashmir had been eased in a few places, including upper Srinagar, over the two previous days, but enforced strictly again today to scuttle the gathering also called for demanding Gurus mortal remains.
Due to the renewed clampdown, Friday prayers were not offered at the central Jamia Masjid here and several mosques elsewhere in the valley, even as clashes breaking out left a number of people injured, one of them in firing by the forces.
Early today, the police went around with loudspeaker-mounted vehicles, asking people to remain indoors, and backed the announcement with heavy deployments in streets and lanes to enforce a strict curfew.
Steel barricades and concertina wire had been thrown across key thoroughfares and crossings to impede any possible upsurge, and all routes to the Eidgah in downtown Srinagar totally sealed off.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah had announced that Friday prayers at local mosques would not be barred, but residents in several places complained that they were not allowed out of their homes at namaz time.
Government forces opened fire on a violent crowd in the Naid Khai area of Sumbal in North Kashmir, leaving at least one person injured, reports said.
Ghulam Nabi Dar had be sent to a Srinagar hospital because of a bullet injury in his thigh during CRPF action on a stone-pelting crowd, reports said.
In the Chrar-e-Sharief town of the central Budgam district, a policeman, Nisar Ahmad, was seriously injured when angry groups pelted stones on deployments near the local Jamia Masjid.
Protests had erupted in the town when the police allegedly asked residents to hold Friday prayers one hour ahead of their usual time of 2 p.m., locals said.
An local, identified as Muhammad Ayub of Talab Kalan, was taken into custody after the violent incident, reports said.
Residents in the Redwani area of Kulgam said that CRPF personnel had barged into homes, and smashed window panes, after stone-pelting in the streets.
In the Dooru area, four youth were held by the police after stone-pelting attacks on deployments.
In Safapora, the police resorted to tear gas shelling to break up protests erupting after Friday prayers.
The Hurriyat (G) said that funeral prayers in absentia were offered for Guru across Kashmir, including Barzulla, Batmalu, Pakharpora, Larnu, Pahalgam, Khan Sahib, Wagura, Shulipora, Budgam, Kulgam, Anantnag, Rajpora, Sadwara, Verinag, Qazigund, and other places.
Protests marked by stone-pelting were reported from the Shalimar and Chanpora areas of Srinagar, and the Kupwara, Hajin, Sumbal, Pulwama, Sopore, and Dooru.
A government spokesman this evening said that the situation in the valley had remained peaceful barring a few incidents of stone-pelting at Naid Khai, Azad Gunj (Baramulla), Handwara, Ajas Bandipur, Muran Pulwama, Chrar-e-Sharief and Quimoh Kulgam.
One person, Ghulam Nabi Dar of Naid Khai was injured after a bullet hit him in his right leg. He has been hospitalized, the spokesman said.
Three policemen were also injured at Handwara and Chrar-e-Sharief during stone-pelting incidents, he added.
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