Clashes In City Amid Shutdown, 43 Arrested, Several Injured25 November 2011
Srinagar: A shutdown was observed in the valley Friday on the call given by Hurriyat Conference (G) against the alleged detention of minors and political activists. Clashes erupted between protesting youth and security personnel in the old city in the afternoon after the former tried to take out a protest march. Police said it arrested 43 youth during and after the clashes. Scores of youth after finishing the congregational Friday prayers gathered at Saraf Kadal and Nowhatta and attempted to take out a procession. The youth said they were protesting against the ‘unabated arrest spree and harassment of youth by police for participating in protests last summer.’ As soon as the youth began to assemble, contingents of police and CRPF deployed in the area swung into action by cane charging them. They also used teargas, sling shots, stones and marbles to counter the stone throwing protestors. Several protestors including minors were injured and whisked away by police and CRPF on the spot. The police action also injured several civilians who had gone to attend prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid. The youth dispersed and divided themselves into small groups and started hurling stones at the forces from the by-lanes. In a major crackdown, police arrested 43 youth on the charges of stone-pelting and protests in downtown area of the city. Talking to Greater Kashmir, Superintendent of Police, North City, Showkat Hussain said 43 persons were held during the protests today. “We have arrested 43 stone throwers from Saraf Kadal,” he said. In the main commercial hub Lal Chowk, shops, business establishments, fuel stations and some offices remained shut while skeletal public transport was plying on the roads. Government offices and a few other institutions remained opened. In downtown city, the government took extra measures by putting more security men on the job of law and order. Hundreds of policemen donning riot gear were deployed in the sensitive areas in both civil lines and downtown to thwart any protest. Bunker vehicles were also placed in volatile areas. In uptown city, partial shutdown was observed while some private and public transport buses plied on the roads. Hurriyat Conference (G) had called for strike against the ‘continuous detention of political activists, arrest of minors and torture of Kashmiri detainees in Kot Balwal Jail and Amphala Jail in Jammu.’ The amalgam’s Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani had appealed International Amnesty and Asia Watch to take serious note of the Kashmiri detainees’ ‘plight’ and use their influence to have them released. Reports said that life remained completely crippled in South Kashmir’s Islamabad town. The town wore a deserted look. Shops, schools and other business establishments remained closed. Thin traffic was witnessed on roads. Strike was also observed in Pulwama, Kulgam and Shopian districts of south Kashmir. In north Kashmir life remained out of gear. Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora areas remained shut but thin private traffic plied on the roads.