Pitched battles on Kashmir streets leave dozens injured

Mischief mongers use opportunity to extort money

 The anger on the streets of Kashmir is seething with dozens of people including policemen injured in violent clashes that erupted at several places across the Valley on Friday.

Curfew remained clamped in most parts of the Valley which witnessed another spontaneous shutdown against the killing of a Baramulla youth allegedly due to Army firing on Tuesday.

Unofficial reports said during the day long pitched battles between police and stone-pelters at least six protesters were injured in Kralpora area of Kupwara district, 12 in Sopore, 10 in Baramulla town, six in Palhalan (Baramulla district), six in Kunzer Tangmarg, five in Hajin (Bandipora), two in Kangan (Ganderbal) in north Kashmir while four were injured in south Kashmir’s Sambora area in Pampore, four in Shopian and 10 in Baghat, Hyderpora, Ompora and Bagh-e-Mehtab areas of Srinagar.

A police spokesperson said some miscreants pelted stones on an ambulance in Palhallan area of Barmulla district injuring the driver of the vehicle.
“While chasing the miscreants, five persons including three policemen received minor injuries,” he said.

Authorities had imposed curfew in almost all the parts of the Valley to thwart any protests. However, protesters defied the curfew in several parts of the Valley and clashed with police and para- military Central Reserve Police Force personnel.

Stone pelting incidents were reported from dozens of areas in north and south Kashmir while in Srinagar city situation in uptown areas remained tense where protesters pelted stones on police at several places. However, situation in volatile old city remained by and large peaceful on Friday due to strict curfew.

“The decision to impose curfew is a preventive measure as there is apprehension that separatists might take advantage of the situation and organise some big rallies. Curfew would be relaxed only when situation improves,” a senior police officer told Deccan Herald.

Scores arrested

Meanwhile, scores of youth were arrested during nocturnal raids across the Valley, sources said.

Police have intensified its drive to arrest the youths in wake of the rising stone pelting incidents.

Superintended Police Sopore Imtiyaz Hussain said four stone-pelters were arrested when they were threatening the people boarding their cars and extorting money from them by threat and intimidation.

“They were collecting Rs 100 to Rs 500 from the car owners depending upon the model and make of the car. Police rushed to the spot and arrested two stone-pelters on the spot while as others fled away. Two more stone-pelters were later arrested from their homes while as some of them are still at large,” he said.

Inspector General Police Kashmir range, S M Sahai said nearly 600 policemen and CRPF personnel were injured in the last few days while handling the law and order situation.

He said police have been ordered to exercise maximum restraint while dealing with protesters.

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