Curfew in four districts of Kashmir, clashes leave 13 injured

Curfew has been imposed in Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Awantipora town.

Srinagar: Curfew was imposed in four districts
of Kashmir on Wednesday to foil a march called by separatists to the
local United Nations office but protestors defied the
restrictions at several places and clashed with security
forces, resulting in injuries to 13 persons.

Authorities had this morning clamped curfew in Srinagar,
Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts besides Awantipora
town, in view of the march called by moderate faction of
Hurrriyat to the office of the UN Military Observers` Group
for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).

The march was supported by the hardline faction headed by
Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
A large number of security force personnel have been
deployed across the city and other sensitive areas to prevent
the separatists from taking out any rally.

Officials said several separatist leaders have been put
under house arrest while over a dozen activists of
Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat were taken into preventive custody last

Eight persons were injured when stone-pelting protestors
clashed with security forces in Bandipora district town, 50
kms from here, officials said.

Defying curfew restrictions, a group of protestors took to
the roads this morning in Bandipora, they said.

Police and other security forces used batons to chase the
protestors away but the youth starting pelting stones at

Security forces lobbed tear smoke shells and fired Pump
Action Guns to bring the situation under control, they said,
adding five civilians and three policemen were injured in the

Clashes also broke out in old town area of Baramulla
district headquarters. Scores of youth started pelting stones
at security forces near Cement bridge and adjoining
localities, the officials said.

They said police lobbed tear smoke shells and used pellet
guns to disperse the protestors, resulting in minor injuries
to four persons.
Aqib Ahmad was injured when he was hit by a marble hurled
from a slingshot by security forces in Sopore town of the
district, the officials said.

Officials said the 14-year-old was hit in the eye and
referred to SMHS hospital here for treatment.

A large number of protestors had blocked the Srinagar-
Baramulla National Highway in Palhalan area of Baramulla
district late last night.

Police fired tear smoke shells and warning shots to
disperse the protestors, they said.

In Pattan area of Baramulla, a police party raided a house
this morning to arrest two brothers allegedly involved in
cases of stone pelting, arson and attempt to murder.

However, both the brothers, Tariq Ahmad Sheikh and Sajad
Ahmad, evaded arrest as the women folk raised hue and cry
prompting the raiding party to withdraw, a police spokesman

He said the police party withdrew from the house of Ghulam
Rasool Sheikh of Reipora-Palhallan village, 30 kms from here,
as family members of the accused did not cooperate and instead
resorted to hue and cry.

The police party exhibited restraint and left the house to
avoid altercation with the female members, the spokesman said
adding both the accused have evaded arrest several times and
are still absconding, he said.

However, the family members alleged that the police
personnel tried to outrage the modesty of the womenfolk. "They
were dragged and asked to report at the nearby security camp,"
Sajad told PTI over phone.

He alleged that one of his sisters had a fractured arm
after she was "dragged" by the police personnel.

Meanwhile, normal life was disrupted in the Valley in view
of the strike call given by both factions of Hurriyat to
protest the landing of Army in Kashmir on this day in 1947, a
day after then Maharaja Hari Singh signed the instrument of
accession with the Union of India.

Hurriyat has asked people to observe the day as "black

Shops, business establishments and private offices
remained closed on account of the strike.

The authorities in the evening relaxed the curfew in
Srinagar city from 5 PM while in Handwara town in Kupwara
district it was relaxed from 3 PM.

Kashmir Valley has been in the grip of protests, strikes
and curfew since June when a 17-year-old boy was killed by a
tear smoke shell allegedly fired by police at Rajouri Kadal
area of the city.