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Yasin Malik hurt in J&K protest

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: September 12, 2008 23:43 IST
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Two persons were killed and 40 others, including the pro-Independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik, injured in Valley-wide protests following Friday Prayers.


People responded in their thousands to the separatist coordination committee's call to observe a peaceful shutdown and stage protests after the Friday prayers.


As the Friday prayers ended, people spilled out of various mosques to the streets to stage protests shouting pro-freedom slogans.


Curfew was imposed in the two towns of Baramulla and Shopian on Friday evening as mob violence erupted after Friday prayers.


The authorities have deployed army, paramilitary and police to impose curfew restrictions and defuse tension.


In Shopian town of south Kashmir, clashes erupted between the protestors and the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and police after the Friday prayers, when several thousand people took out a procession and later indulged in stone-pelting.


CRPF troops opened fire at the protestors, resulting in the death of one person and injuries to 15 others, who were immediately shifted to hospital for treatment.


The district authorities had a difficult time in controlling the situation, and more police and paramilitary units were moved and deployed all over the town.


In the north Kashmir Baramulla town, thousands of protestors held protests and later pelted stones at the police injuring 10 policemen who fired warning shots and teargas to quell the mobs.


One youth was killed on the spot after being hit by a teargas shell on his head and 20 others were wounded, two in firing by the CRPF. The injured were taken to hospital.


In Srinagar people from various uptown mosques marched towards the historic Lal Chowk shouting pro-freedom slogans as they tried to stage a sit-in near the clock tower, a landmark of the capital city.


Police and paramilitary fired teargas shells and resorted to repeated baton charges to disperse the protestors who, however, continued to swell.


JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, who was carried on shoulders by his supporters to Lal Chowk, was injured in the baton charges.


Malik was immediately taken to hospital for treatment, where his condition is stated to be out of danger.


Police also resorted to baton charges and teargas in other localities of Srinagar where clashes erupted after the Friday prayers.


Reports from other towns of Baramulla, Sopore, Kupwara, Bandipore in north Kashmir and Anantnag, Pulwama, Kulgam and other towns in south Kashmir said people staged protests after the Friday prayers.


Shopkeepers downed their shutters with other business establishments and government offices, educational institutions, banks following suit on the call given by the coordination committee.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar