Police, protesters clash in Srinagar

Three policemen injured during rally

Life was thrown out of gear in Srinagar on Friday as authorities restricted civilian movement and used force to disperse Muharram processions.

Reports said at least three policemen were injured during sporadic clashes between the police and protesters in the city. The police and CRPF troopers deployed in the volatile areas of the city fired tear gas shells and resorted to the baton to disperse a Muharram procession in Srinagar’s Batmaloo area.

 The protesters retaliated by pelting stones in which three policemen were injured.
Since early morning, security personnel prevented people from coming out in five police station areas of the old city and blocked all entry points to the city center, Lal Chowk.
Civilian movement was stopped in the Dalgate, Maisuma and Shaheed Gunj areas, from where the annual procession was scheduled to pass.

The police also laid barbed wires at Amira Kadal, TRC Crossing, Dalgate, Karanagar, Jahangir Chowk, Budshah Chowk and Footbridge areas to prevent civilian movement.

Defied restrictions

The mourners, however, defied the restrictions and took out processions from various areas in the old city. Hundreds of mourners assembled at Batamaloo and tried to proceed towards Shaheed Gunj.

A police spokesperson said the situation was largely peaceful, barring sporadic incidents of stone pelting in Srinagar and Baramulla in north Kashmir.

“The police exercised maximum restraint and dispersed stone pelters. However, three policemen were injured when some miscreants pelted stones on the police in Batamaloo,” he said. A senior police officer said restrictions were imposed to prevent separatist groups from staging anti-national protests.

“There was also apprehension of unrest over separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s call for protests after Friday prayers against the situation in Gaza and the BJP’s rhetoric demanding hanging of 2001 Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru,” he added.

Muharram processions have been banned by the government in Kashmir since 1989.
Meanwhile, one person set himself on fire in the Shaheedgunj area here to protest against the ban on Muharram processions.

He suffered minor injuries and has been detained.

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