Srinagar: After remaining confined to their homes for 17 days without any break residents came out of their homes after authorities lifted curfew and separatist leadership announced a break in shutdown only to be forced back by groups of youth, most of them wearing masks.
Joint resistance leadership had asked people to resume their business from 2pm onwards on Tuesday and in sensitive old Srinagar police and paramilitary personnel had retreated to their camps in the wee hours.
Groups of youth appeared in all major down town streets and not only barred shopkeepers from opening their shops but also enforced a ban on the movement of traffic.
Even ambulances faced tough time convincing these youth to allow them free movement. Mobs were particularly harsh with journalists moving in vehicles with a press tag, accusing them of distorting facts.
Blockades were erected along entire Ali Jan Road stretching from Soura to Safa Kadal with youth wielding lathis and holding stones jumping at any vehicle which ventured in the area.
Commuters were seen pleading with youth to allow them move. If Hurriyat has announced the break in hartal who are these people enforcing a shutdown, questioned Khursheed-ul-Islam of Qamarwari, who was ferrying his old father for a check-up and was caught up at Seki Dafar.
At nearby Eidgah a 61-year-old man died after he lost control over his scooter and fell down. Witnesses said that Mushtaq Ahmed of Rajouri Kadal, was on his Scooty when he was caught in a clash in the area. Mushtaq sustained critical head injuries and succumbed at SKIMS, Soura.
In other city areas like Alamgiri Bazar, Hawal, Gojwara, Nowpora, Khanyar and entire stretch of Nalla Mar Road, mobs ruled the streets for entire day.
A large number of youth resorted to stone-pelting at Khanyar while at Baba-Demb masked agitated youth restricted the movement of commuters and pedestrians.
While in old city police and CRPF by and large remained off the streets, they did intervene at Jahangir Chowk and resorted to tear-gas shelling when a large procession reached there from adjoining areas. The protesters chanting pro-freedom slogans waved green flags and tried to proceed towards city centre of Lal Chowk. It was a peaceful protest. The protesters crossed many CRPF pickets without causing any harm, said an eyewitness.
Clashes were also reported from Kaksarai area of Srinagar city. The people were protesting the wanton killing of civilians by government forces. the area is home to SMHS Hospital where most of the injured are being treated.
Amid anti-India and pro-freedom slogans the protesters hurled rocks on the passing vehicles. Clashes also broke out in Khankah area of Srinagar city where few protesters reportedly suffered injuries.
Clashes erupted at Tankipora near DC office and adjoining areas. The clashes soon spread to Kani Kadal, Chotta Bazar, Karan Nagar and Batamalu.
Reports said that several protesters were injured in the clashes.
In Maisuma, patriotic songs were aired through mosque loudspeakers while a large number of youth hit to roads chanting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Reports said that Srinagar like situation prevailed in other major towns where despite no curfew and restrictions, business establishments remained shut. Police sources said that at least one person was injured near Sarband Zinpanchal area of Pakharpora town when police used tear-smoke shells and pellets on a procession that was on way from Pakharpora to Charar-e-Sharif.
Reports from South Kashmris Pulwama district said that a huge procession was taken out by people which was dispersed by police after they fired tear smoke shells. Clashes and protests also erupted in Malkhnag area of Anantnag district where at least six people received pellet injuries. Earlier in the town a nocturnal protests had broken out as thousands of angry men and women rallied against civilian killings by armed forces during the ongoing protests in the valley.
At Charsoo in Awantipora, a large procession was taken out while in North Kashmir township of Sumbal protesters attacked local police station.
Reports from north Kashmir areas said that some shops opened in wake of Hurriyats relaxation call. But overall, the shutdown continued across the Kashmir Valley. Police sources said that a strict curfew would be clamped in most parts of the Srinagar tomorrow to prevent escalation of protests.
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