2 Policemen Killed In Kashmir Clashes; Tulmulla Under Curfew

26 July 2014
The Hindu
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Srinagar: Two constables of Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed and over a dozen injured in clashes with demonstrators. Curfew has been imposed in Tulmulla township of Ganderbal district on Saturday following a clash outside the famous Khirbhawani temple. Senior Police officials said that 'miscreants' were making 'concerted efforts' to disturb the atmosphere of peace in the valley ahead of of Id-ul-fitr on next Tuesday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramzan. To ensure safety of pilgrims, the Amarnath Yatra passage on Srinagar-Jammu highway was suspended on Friday. As there was no deployment of the armed forces and the J&K Police were managing traffic on the highway, two militants on a motorcycle slowed down in Bijbehara town, 48 km from Srinagar, on Friday evening and fired pistol shots on an unarmed constable, Altaf Ahmad, killing him on the spot. Deputy Inspector General of Police in South Kashmir Vijay Kumar told The Hindu that the militants were unidentified but the police had reasons to believe that they were the local cadre of Lashkar-e-Taiba. 'We are working on a plan to arrest them', he said. Officials said that on Friday night, scores of youths in Sopore, 50 km from Srinagar, in North Kashmir, resorted to pelting stones at the police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) at several places. At around 2.30 a.m. on Saturday, when mosques were holding nightlong prayers of Shab-e-Qadr, suspected militants lobbed a hand grenade at a police deployment at Chota Bazaar. Constable Mohammad Sayeed Khan died and four police personnel, including an Inspector, sustained injuries. They were rushed to Srinagar and admitted to hospital for treatment. In Srinagar downtown, groups of unruly youth engaged police and CRPF forces in clashes in the Nowhatta area for the whole night. Officials said that at least six policemen sustained injuries. Khirbhawani under curfew Curfew has been imposed on Tulmulla township following a clash outside the famous Khirbhawani temple. Deputy Commissioner of Ganderbal Sarmad Hafeez told The Hindu that the clash occurred after some people caught Zahoor Ahmad Sheikh of Saloora, a clerk at the office of Zonal Education Officer with a woman allegedly engaged in 'an immoral act' on a day when government offices were closed on account of holiday on Jumatul Vida, the last Friday of the holy month of Ramzan. The mob torched Mr. Sheikh's motorcycle, attempted to set on fire ZEO's office and began lynching the accused. Police took Mr. Sheikh into custody. Later, a larger crowd attacked the police post and attempted to snatch away Mr. Sheikh to 'bring him to justice'. Police held the accused in protective custody and filed a criminal case against him. Later, during the night, a bigger crowd gathered and clashed with police and CRPF guarding the Khirbhawani shrine. Six policemen were injured, and police dispersed the miscreants with baton charge and tear gas. 'Consequently, we have imposed some restrictions on the movement and the situation there is under control', Mr. Hafeez said. He said that a fairly large deployment of police and paramilitary forces has been put in place in Tulmulla area to ensure that there was no escalation of trouble. A police press release said that the Maulvi of Mohsharpora mosque provoked the people through public address system for an attack on the police late on Friday night. It said that eight policemen were injured. Four persons have been arrested.