100 Injured As Protests Paralyse Kashmir Valley

3 June 2009
The Indian Express


Srinagar: At least 100 people were injured as violent protests over the death of two women under mysterious circumstances paralysed Kashmir Valley for the third day on Wednesday with authorities detaining chairman of hardline Hurriyat faction Syed Ali Shah Geelani and two other separatist leaders. Fierce clashes were witnessed between protesters and security personnel in Shopian town, 52 kms from here, where the bodies of Nelofar (22) and Asiya (17) were recovered on Saturday after they went missing from their orchard, as thousands of people poured into the streets. Opposition leader Mehbooba Mufti, who led a party delegation that met the bereaved family, apparently faced the wrath of protesters. Police said they fired warning shots and teargas shells to chase away stone-pelting mobs that attacked them and 'protected persons' who were on a visit to the town but the PDP leader denied that she faced mob fury. At least 50 persons including eight policemen were injured in the pitched battles, official sources said, Violence erupted in different parts of Srinagar and Baramulla district towns during the separatist sponsored general strike despite stringent security arrangements by the authorities. Superintendent of Police, city South, Irshad Ahmad and four policemen were injured when a group of youthS pelted stones on a police party in Batmaloo locality of central Srinagar, the sources said. The protests also marred polling in Hazratbal Assembly constituency, where by-election was held amid tight security, with only 20 per cent turnout recorded.