Anantnag: Several separatist leaders, including Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik were injured after they were thrashed by Government forces when they protesting against death of Zahid Rasool in the town on Tuesday.
Eyewitnesses said Muhammad Yasin Malik along other separatist leaders including Javid Ahmed Mir, Er Farooq Khan and others arrived at Batingo Islamabad to express their sympathies with the bereaved family of Zahid Rasool Bhat who died in Safdarjang hospital in New Delhi after sustaining injuries at Shivnagar Udhampur when Hindu zealots attacked their truck with petrol bomb.
Witnesses added that after visiting the bereaved family, Malik and others visited the graveyard and offered Fateha Khwani in favour of the deceased youth. Shortly after addressing a large gathering, Malik led a procession towards Lal Chowk. Senior separatist leader Javid Ahmed Mir told CNS that Malik was mulling to stage a sit-in at Lal Chowk but as the procession reached near highway, CRPF personnel according to Mir went on rampage and indiscriminately fired tear-smoke shells on protesters. There was chaos everywhere. During the melee, few unbridled CRPF troopers attacked us with lathis and gun butts. We tried to stop them but they continuously assaulted us. Malik suffered fracture in his neck while Shabir Dar received injury in his nose, Mir said.
M Ahsan Untoo, who was part of the procession alleged that after the attack, the CRPF personnel snatched laptop from his possession and smashed it with lathis. We were ruthlessly beaten up. Many protesters received wounds in CRPF action, he said. Eyewitnesses added that it were few policemen that saved Malik and others from the wrath of CRPF personnel. The separatist leaders were detained shortly after the incident and were taken to Police Station Saddar, witnesses added.
Meanwhile the incident sparked spontaneous protest and clashes in Maisuma Srinagar where protesters took to street and resorted to stone-pelting. The government forces burst tear-smoke shells to disperse the agitated youth. Locals and commuters alleged that CRPF personnel smashed windshields of many private vehicles. The clashes between police and youth disrupted normal life as all the shops and business establishments got shut and transport disappeared from the roads. (CNS)
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