Srinagar: Heavy clashes between stone-throwing youth and police personnel continued in most parts of the Old City aka Downtown on Friday particularly after the chief cleric of the grand mosque, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, left the mosque premises after offering prayers only to be put under house arrest again.
According to reports, the authorities had locked the main gates of Jamia masjid in the morning, however, allowed Friday prayers for the third consecutive week in the worship place. After the prayers ended, the authorities locked it up again.
The police lifted the siege from the house of Mirwaiz at 12:30 p.m., his PRO, Shahid-ul-Islam, said. He was put under house detention again at 2:30 pm immediately after he reached his Nigeen residence.
Meanwhile, the members of Jamia Auqaf accused the authorities of trying to limit the number of namazis at the historic mosque by placing restrictions on the movement of people. Barricades had been placed at several entry points to the area to prevent large scale participation of namazis, they alleged.
Reports and eyewitnesses said that a large number of youth caught hold of a police man in plain clothes who allegedly was busy in taking photographs in Jamia Masjid.
As soon as the Mirwiaz Umar Farooq left the grand mosque, a large contingent of police personnel cordoned off the mosque while youth present in the mosque locked the doors.
They used tear-smoke shells to disperse the youth who resorted to massive stone-pelting. Reports said the cop allegedly abducted by youth was beaten up. A police official however denied the reports that the man thrashed and abducted by stone-pelters was a cop.
Elsewhere, routine life was affected in Kashmir on Friday due to the strike called by separatist groups though transport – both public and private – was plying in many parts of the city here.
Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments remained closed due to the strike.
There was comparatively less public activity today because of the Friday as people apprehend law and order problems after the congregational prayers.
The officials said schools and other educational institutions were closed.
Similar reports were received from most other district headquarters of the Valley, they said.
A pro-freedom procession was taken out from Jamia Masjid Sopore while the participants raised anti-India slogans. A large number of people part of the procession clashed with government forces when they were prohibited to proceed towards main chowk. The intense clashes between the Forces and people left many people injured. The protesters alleged that government force resorted to tear-gas shelling without any provocation, a claim refuted by police.
Batamaloo area of Srinagar city witnessed massive protest and clashes shortly after the culmination of Friday prayers. Large number of people assembled at Reka Chowk Batamaloo and pelted stones of the deployed Forces who retaliated with tear-smoke shells.
As the clashes intensified and more and more youth resorted to massive stone-pelting, the government forces personnel fired a number of bullets in air to disperse the agitating protesters. The clashes continued for hours. Protesters were protesting against the civilian and militant killings in Kashmir.
Shouting pro-freedom and anti-forces slogans, hundreds of protestors, restrictions, took to streets after Friday prayers at Tral and adjoining area in south Kashmir district of Pulwama, demanding right to self determination.
However, when protestors were moving towards the main chowk in their respective areas, security forces deployed in the area swung into action and stopped them from moving ahead.
As the protestors didnt back down, security forces burst teargas shells to disperse demonstrators, who were pelting stones. Several protestors were injured in the security force action.
Reports from North Kashmirs Bandipora district said that police resorted to aerial firing to break up clashes in Plan area after congregational Friday prayers.
Witnesses said that youth clashed with police by hurling stones and bricks at them who responded by firing teargas shells.
“A police rakshak vehicle came under heavy stone pelting near Nag Masjid in Plan. Police personnel inside the vehicle fired some shots in air to disperse the protesting youth,”they said.
The intense clashes witnesses said continued for hours and many protesters as well as cop were wounded.
Intense clashes between civilian protesters and forces erupted at various places in southern parts of Kashmir. Reports said that soon after the encounter in Arwani village of Bijbehara town ended, clashes erupted in Islamabad, Kulgam and Pulwama districts.
Eyewitnesses told local news agency, CNS that clashes erupted in Bijbehara, Arwani, Kaimoh and Pulwama. They said at least 15 persons were injured in these clashes.
Clashes erupted between protesters and the government forces at bus stand and Aabgar areas of Tral township of Pulwama district in south Kashmir after Friday prayers.
Reports said that as soon as Friday prayers ended at Khankah Faiz Panah, a protest rally was taken out towards bus stand Tral where protestors pelted stones on forces. Forces fired tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters.
The separatists are spearheading the ongoing agitation since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with forces on July 8.
The five-month unrest in the Valley has left 97 people dead and thousands others injured. (CNS)
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