Anti-poll Protests Erupt In Valley; 2 Arrested

SRINAGAR: Scores of protesters on Friday staged protets against upcoming Lok Sabha by-elections in Valley and clashed with armed forces in many areas of Kashmir region.

According to GNS, dozens of pro-freedom activists converged outside historic Jamia Masjid in Old City’s Nowhatta area after offering Friday prayers and staged pro-freedom and anti-election protests. The protesters were also holding posters calling for boycott of the elections.

The Hurriyat Conference activists also shouted slogans against J&K Government for detaining resistance leadership including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Soon after the protest, some youths pelted stones on policemen deployed in the area. However, unlike past Fridays the situation remained peaceful. Two youth were injured when police used teargas shells on youths pelting stones at Soura on armed forces.

The clashes also erupted at Sopore area of Baramulla district. As soon as Friday prayers culminated at Jamia Masjid Sopore, dozens of youth took to streets and staged pro-freedom and anti-election protests. The youths resorted to heavy stone pelting on forces. The forces retaliated by firing teargas shells. The situation in the area was tense till evening.

Police arrested one Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front activist today in Abi Guzar area when he was circulating anti-election posters, reports said.

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According to the reports, the JKLF as part of the election boycott campaign distributed anti-poll posters at many places of Valley. Similar posters were being distributed at Abi Guzar but police swung into action and detained one of the JKLF activists. The party has condemned the arrest.

Meanwhile, police have arrested a man along with election boycott posters in Awantipora today. “Acting on a tip off, police arrested a suspect identified as Mohammad Yousuf Wani, son of Abdul Gani, resident of Brah Bandina and recovered a huge number of Election boycott posters from his possession, meant to be distributed among the trouble mongers, so as to create panic among local population of the area,” police said.

“Police have registered a case FIR No. 30/17 under section 171 C-1 RPC 13 ULA in Police Station Awantipora in this regard  and investigation has been taken up,” the police added.

Two Youths Injured In Soura Clashes

Two youths sustained injuries during fierce clashes between protesters and forces after Friday prayers at main market Soura, Srinagar, official sources said.

One youth, reportedly from Nowhatta, sustained serious injuries when a stun grenade exploded in his hand which he was trying to throw back towards forces. His thumb fell apart and was rushed to SKIMS Soura, for treatment, sources said. Clashes lasted till evening as forces fired tear smoke shells and stun grenades to disperse stone-hurling youths.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Sopore town of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district after forces prevented youth from holding protests after Friday prayers.

The youth took to streets after congregational prayers at central Jamia Masjid and tried to stage a pro-freedom march. However, police and paramilitary personnel deployed in the area prevented them from staging the march, triggering clashes.

While the youth hurled rocks, the forces responded by bursting teargas shells. A few protestors were injured. (PTK)

Resistance Leaders Caged

In the run up to Lok Sabha by-polls, the top pro-freedom leadership continues to remain caged in their houses are in different police stations

Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Syed Imtiyaz Haider and many others are either under house arrest or detained in jails.

Hurriyat Conference (G) on Friday said that Geelani was again barred from offering mandatory Friday prayers while as his deputy, Ashraf Sehrai, has been detained in his home.

Hurriyat Conference (M) chief, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has been put under house arrest and thus barred from leading congregational Friday prayers at historic Jamia Masjid Srinagar.

Condemning the ‘oppressive and suppressive’ tactics of the government and its dictatorial policies, Hurriyat Conference spokesperson said, “stopping pro-freedom leaders from performing their religious responsibilities is gross violation of human rights and interference in the personnel and religious right.” “Government has virtually turned state into a prison & basic rights are denied and trampled by authorities.”

JKLF chief, Mohammad Yasin Malik, has been detained in Central Jail Srinagar while as police raided house of Hurriyat Conference (G) leader, Syed Imtiyaz Haider in Budgam during the intervening night of Thursday and Friday. “Haider was arrested and subsequently lodged in Police Station Budgam,” reports said.

Meanwhile, poluice have launched crackdown across Valley and hundreds of youth and elderly have been rounded up to “ensure peaceful elections”.

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