15 Injured In Fresh Clashes In Kashmir

7 September 2008

Srinagar: At least 15 people, including 10 policemen, were injured as fresh clashes erupted today between security forces and protesters after the killing of a youth in police firing in the Kashmir Valley. Police fired teargas shells and used batons to disperse stone-pelting mobs in various parts of Srinagar where authorities deployed police and CRPF personnel in strength to maintain law and order, officials said. 'Ten policemen and CRPF personnel suffered injuries in stone pelting incidents by groups of teenagers and youth at Nowhatta, Zamp Kadal, Gujralbal, Chattabal and Safakadal,' a police spokesman said this evening. He said police and CRPF personnel exercised utmost restrain to avoid civilian casualty. However, official sources said five youth were also injured in the clashes which continued throughout the day despite incessant rains. The clashes started at Maisuma in the heart of the city and its adjoining areas including Red Cross, Kokerbazar, Madina chowk and Nai Sadak in the morning and later spread to various downtown and uptown localities, disrupting normal life, the sources said. Javid Iqbal was killed when he was hit by a rubber bullet during a clash between police and protesters at Nowhatta following a general strike called by separatists in support of their demand for right to self-determination yesterday. The Coordination Committee of separatists had, however, asked people to resume normal activities from today. But shops and business establishments were forced to down their shutters by youths who visited various markets to enforce a strike to protest against the killing. Life in the vast area of downtown city including Nowhatta - the scene of the fierce clash yesterday - too was paralysed as groups of youth took to streets at various places in the vicinity of Jamia Masjid shouting anti-India slogans. Only skeletal transport was plying on the roads. Additional police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in sensitive areas, a police officer said denying reports of imposition of curfew in parts of the city. 'Police and paramilitary forces have been directed to strictly enforce prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more persons,' the officer said. Several hundred people took to streets in Anantnag district town to protest what they called 'highhandedness' of security forces. The protesters assembled at Cheeni Chowk shouting anti-India slogans and alleged that the security forces restricted their movement throughout yesterday. A complete shutdown was also observed in the town against alleged police excesses, the sources said, adding they also demanded release of youths arrested during the agitation.