Violence continues in Kashmir, 20 injured

At least 20 people were injured as violent clashes continued on Tuesday in Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir valley over Saturday's mysterious death of two women in Shopian, 52 km from here, official sources said.

Piercing the tight security arrangements, angry residents clashed with police and paramilitary forces at nearly two dozen places here and parts of Baramulla, Bandipora and Pulwama districts, the sources said.

Though the government has ordered a judicial probe into the mysterious death of the two women, the locals were up in arms as the kin of the victims suspect involvement of security personnel in their rape and murder.

Chairman of hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani yesterday rejected the inquiry, extended the day-long strike by two more days and urged people to stage massive protests against the "brutal killing" of the two women.

Chairperson of Muslim Khawateen Markaz Zamrooada Habib along with 15 activists was detained by police when they took out a protest march from Sarai Bala to Lal chowk in the heart of the city this afternoon, the sources said.

The sources said they were stopped by police near Lal Chowk and lodged at Kothibagh police station.

Batmaloo, Maisuma, Nawab Bazar, Bemina, Channapora, Nowgam and Noorbagh localities here witnessed pitched battles between police and protesters, during which 14 persons including two women were injured.

Police used rubber bullets, teargas shells and batons to disperse the protestors who were demanding identification of the culprits and severe punishment to them, the sources said.

They said the condition of one of the injured, Arshid Ahmad Shah, a resident of Batmaloo, was stated to be serious as he had received several rubber bullets on his back and was undergoing treatment at SMHS hospital.

Six persons were also injured in stone pelting at Baramulla district town, 55 km from here, in North Kashmir, the sources said.

Reports of minor clashes were also received from Bandipora district and Awantipora in Pulwama district, but no casualty was reported.

The authorities deployed thousands of police and paramilitary personnel in the valley to thwart protests and have placed almost all separatist leaders, including chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, under house arrest.

President of Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Ahmad Shah tried to break the police cordon around his house and leave for Shopian, but was briefly detained and later shifted back to his Sanat Nagar residence in uptown city, the sources added.

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