Shia mourners clash with securitymen in Srinagar
Srinagar: Defying curfew, Shia mourners, forming part of Muharram procession, clashed with security forces at several places in Srinagar city, forcing the law enforcing agencies to fire tear smoke shells to restore order, officials said.
Groups of members belonging to the Shia community assembled at Chinkral Mohalla in Habba Kadal area, Budshah Chowk near Lal Chowk and Tankipora near Divisional Commissioner`s office ignoring prohibitory orders, they said.
Initially, the police and paramilitary CRPF used batons to chase away the mourners but later fired several rounds of tear smoke shells to restore normalcy in these areas, they said.
The officials said so far there was no report of anyone getting injured in the clashes.
Earlier, authorities imposed curfew in five police station areas of Srinagar city to thwart any attempt to take out Muharram procession following apprehensions that separatists might convert the religious gathering into political assembly.
Curfew was imposed in areas falling under Kothibagh Maisuma, Kralkhud, Ram Munshi Bagh and Shaheedgunj police station areas of the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.
The officials said the restrictions in these areas were imposed due to apprehensions that separatist groups might attempt to stage anti-national protests during Muharram processions today.
Before the onset of militancy, the Shia community of the city used to take out processions from Abi Guzar in Kothibagh and Guru Bazaar in Kralkhud police station areas which culminated at Dalgate in Ram Munshi Bagh area to mark the eighth day of the 10-day Muharram mourning period.
However, these procession were banned in 1990 as authorities feared that militants can attack the processions, which is led at many places by separatist leaders, to malign the government.
Police and paramilitary CRPF personnel were deployed in large numbers in the curfew-bound areas of the city to prevent any unlawful activity.
The imposition of curfew led to massive traffic jams in the city areas where no restrictions have been imposed.
Schools, shops and private offices in the curfew-bound areas were closed.
The attendance in the Government offices was also very thin due to the curbs imposed by the authorities.
Police did not allow even vehicles of media organisations and journalists to enter the areas under curfew. However, mediapersons were allowed to walk down to their offices, mostly located in curfew-bound areas.
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