Protests, Clashes Mar Strike

Srinagar, Oct 10, KONS: A protestor was seriously injured during clashes in Sopore after being hit in the head by a tear gas shell, even as the forces opened fire in the air in Handwara  to break up protests that had erupted after the army tried to force traders to open their shops.

Meanwhile private vehicles plying during a Hurriyat (G) strike came under stone pelting attacks in the old city areas of Nauhatta, Gojwara, Rajouri Kadal, Kaw Dara, Nawa Kadal, Khanyar and Chattabal and other localities throwing downtown Srinagar into commotion.

The mobs, however, were chased away by the police and the paramilitary forces who arrived on the scenes of the disturbance.

No part of the city had been put under curfew today, and private vehicles plied in most parts despite the strike call, though shops and businesses remained closed.

Clashes erupted in the Habba Kadal area of the old city when people tried to march to the martyrs’ graveyard at  Eidgah for its maintenance and cleaning according to the Hiurriyat programme.

The march was blocked by the police and the paramilitary forces and told to disperse, but it kept pressing on, prompting the forces to use cane-charges and tear gas.

The protestors retaliated with stones, triggering off clashes that continued for several hours.

Mobs came out in Chattabal also to attack plying vehicles with stones, but were later chased away by the forces.

Clashes were also reported from the Bemina area where groups of youth targeted the police and the paramilitary forces with stones.

Several auto-rickshaws and private vehicles were damaged in Batmalu also during stone-pelting attacks, but the crowds were later broken up by the police and the paramilitary forces who sealed off the area and imposed strict restrictions on movement.

Violence broke out in the northern township of Sopore shortly before noon when groups of youth came out attacking the forces deployed in the streets.

Clashes between the two sides left one person, identified as Wasim Akbar, seriously injured after being hit in the head by a tear gas shell.

The youth was rushed to the local hospital where doctors referred him to the SKIMS in Srinagar because of his critical condition.

Authorities later imposed curfew in the Naharpora area of the town to keep the situation under control.

Stone-pelting mobs also came out in the Baramulla town to attack vehicles and open shops, forcing markets closed and traffic off the roads, reports said.

The forces were later deployed in the town, and authorities enforced restrictions in some areas.

The army opened  fire in to the air to break up protests in Handwara which had broken out after soldiers tried to force shopkeepers to open their shops, eyewitnesses said.

Locals said that the troops of the 6 RR had appeared in the main bazaar,  ordering traders to open shops.

The news of the incident spread fast in the town with announcement from mosque loudspeakers asking people to come out in protest.

A large number of people responded to the calls, and protests against the army rang out in the area.

The forces tried cane-charges and tear gassing to disperse the demonstration, but the protestors held their ground, breaking up in commotion when the army opened fire into the air.

Strict restrictions were later imposed in the area and the people were ordered to stay indoors.

Violent protest broke out in the Shopian town of south Kashmir after four local youth were arrested under the Public Safety Act.

The locals said that the foursome, identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, Sayyar Ahmad, Mufti Wajid Yaqoob and Shiraz Ahmad, had been ;picked up on mere suspicion.

The protestors , demanding the release of the youth, attacked the deputy commissioner’s office with stones, and clashes broke out in several parts of the town, with the forces retaliating with tear gas shelling.

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