J&K Clashes Over Demand For Release Of Hurriyat Leaders

6 March 2009
UNI


Srinagar: A youth was killed and over 30 including six cops and a CRPF jawan were injured as police and paramilitary personnel opened fire on the violent groups of youth demanding release of detained Hurriyat leaders at Nowhatta in interior city. Four protestors with bullet wounds were rushed to SMHS hospital where one of them identified as Shahid of Zoogilnaker-Rainawari succumbed to injuries, hospital sources said, adding, the condition of another youth is critical. In addition, two youths were critically wounded as an armoured paramilitary vehicle engaged in restoring law and order in the troubled Nowhatta area hit them, the sources said. The trouble started shortly after Friday prayers, when groups of youth ignoring moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq's advice not to do so, indulged in stone pelting on security forces at Nowhatta, the scene of such incidents for the past eight months. Groups of youth shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans tried to take out a procession in support of their demand for release of detained Hurriyat leaders, minutes after the Friday prayers ended. However, when the police and paramilitary forces stopped them, they resorted to stone pelting on the security personnel who retaliated by resorting to lathicharge and firing tear smoke shells, they said. Six policemen and a CRPF personnel were injured in stone pelting, the sources said. Finding themselves cornered from all sides, the policemen and paramilitary forces opened fire injuring four youths, the sources said. They said all the four with bullet wounds were rushed to the hospital, where one of them succumbed. They said the rampaging youth who got furious on hearing about the armoured vehicle running over two youth regrouped again and pelted a rain of stones on the security personnel and in the ensuing clashes 17 protestors were injured. Mirwaiz asked the youth on Sunday last not to indulge in stone pelting or in any activity which could defame the ongoing freedom movement in Jammu and Kashmir. 'I make a fervent appeal to the youth not to indulge in stone pelting as it causes inconvenience to the masses and gives the authorities chance to defame the freedom movement', Mirwaiz said while addressing a religious gathering at the shrine of Naqashband sahib in old city. Earlier, addressing Friday Congregation in Jamia Masjid today, Mirwaiz criticised the state government for allegedly debarring Muslims from offering prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid. 'Enough is enough. We can tolerate any atrocity but not act as mute spectators to interference in our religious affairs', he warned. Asking the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to convene a special session to discuss the issue of Muslims being prevented from offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid, he said if it happens again it will have serious repurcussions and the responsibility will lie on the government. Terming the upcoming Lok Sabha polls as yet another exercise in futility so far as the resolution of the Kashmir issue is concerned, the separatist leader said, 'Elections will come and go but Kashmir issue will remain as it is since 1947', he said. It could be resolved only when Governments of India and Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir sit together and resolve it, he said. He castigated the authorities for not taking action against an army officer in Sopore for his reported remarks that 'killing of Muslims is not a sin'. Alleging that the condition of Kashmiri detenues in different jails in and outside the state was 'deteriorating', he asked the human rights organisations to visit the jails to see for themselves their 'pitiable condition'. Meanwhile, business activities came to a abrupt halt in view of the tense situation in downtown city. Shops and business establishments in Nowhatta, Khanyar, Bohrikadal, Rajouri Kadal, Gojwara, Zoojilanker, Rainawari, Fatehkadal and nearby areas did not open after Friday prayer. Public and private transport also did not ply in the old city after the clash, the sources said.