Clashes Amid Clampdown; Women Among 40 Injured

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Srinagar Sewn Up, Barricades In City Centre, No Friday Prayers At Jamia

SRINAGAR: Protestors defied curfew at a number of places across the Valley on Friday to hold demonstrations over the killing of a Baramulla youth in army firing earlier this week, even as over 40 people, including six women and a score of police and paramilitary men, were injured in clashes.

Friday prayers could not offered at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar and several central mosques elsewhere in the Valley due to stringent curfew which kept most of the state’s summer capital calm for the day, though protests and violence broke out at a few places on the outskirts.

There were more reports of forces personnel barging into homes, damaging property and beating inmates while chasing stone-pelters in the streets.

In Baramulla town, where 25-year-old Tahir Rasool Sofi was killed in army firing on Tuesday, protests began shortly after dawn prayers despite curfew, and some mosque loudspeakers came alive with azadi slogans.

Thousands of people offered Friday prayers at the Eidgah in old Baramulla on the call of the local Auqaf Islamia.

Several religious leaders addressed the gathering, and the chairman of the Hurriyat (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, spoke to the congregation over phone.

A large procession taken out later to demand punishment to personnel responsible for Sofi’s killing passed off peacefully.

Clashes, though, erupted in the town’s Gulnar Park and Cement Bridge areas after police and paramilitary deployments refused to allow local processions.

According to reports, the forces fired tear gas shells and pellet guns to break up the protests, leaving several injured.

At least four women were injured when forces personnel used tear gas shells and pellet guns to foil an all-woman procession in the old quarters of the Baramulla town, reports said.

In Delina, another part of the Baramulla district, nearly a dozen youth were rounded up by after clashes with the forces who had disallowed Friday prayers at the local Jamia Masjid.

In Sopore, the forces used tear gas shelling to disperse protest demonstrations in  Maharaj Pora, Chanki Pora, Bat Pora, Chan Khun, Sazbugh, Ash Peer and some other localities.

Three protestors and one CRPF jawan were reported injured in the ensuing clashes.

A dozen protestors more were injured in the Selu area of the town where clashes broke out after the forces used tear gas and cane charges to disperse a procession.

Protests and clashes were reported from several other places like Palhalan and PAttan in the Baramulla district, and at Trehagm and a few other areas of the Kupwara district as well.

An ambulance of the government’s Community Health Centre in Palhalan was damaged in stone-pelting, and its driver injured.

Locals in Magam held protests on the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway, but were chased away by the forces with tear gas and cane charges. Four persons were reported injured.

Locals alleged that forces personnel barged into home and ransacked household goods.

Protestors defied curfew in the Naid Khai, Sadar Kot and Hajan areas of the bandipur district also, taking out processions over the Baramulla killing.

Three CRPF men and  ten protestors were said to have been injured in Hajan when protestors clashed with police and paramilitary men.

Tear gas shelling on protestors was reported from the Saloora, Akhaal and Kangan areas of the Gandarbal district also.

No untoward incidents were reported during curfew in the South Kashmir towns of Anantnag and Bijbehara, but a number of people were injured in the Pulwama town when the police and paramilitary men used force to break up a procession.

People levelled allegations of rampage on forces personnel in the Gagran area of Shopian where protests broke out over ransacking of homes.

Three persons were rounded up in the central district of Budgam where protests broke out in the Chadoora, Chrar-e-Sharief and Pakharpora areas after Friday prayers despite restrictions.

A large number of worshippers were said to have offered Fridaty prayers at the main mosque in the southern town of Tral, even though all accesses to it had been sealed off.

A large procession was later taken out from the Jamia Masjid Noor-ul-Islam.  

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