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25 injured in J&K protests

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
September 19, 2008 21:20 IST
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Valleywide post-Friday prayer protests and an afternoon shut down marred life across the J&K Valley as 25 persons including 14 cops were injured in clashes between protestors and police.

Police opened fire to disperse an agitated slogan shouting and stone-pelting mob at Nowhatta as youths spilled out of the historic Jamia Mosque after Friday congregational prayers to stage pro-freedom protests, the call for which was given by the separatist coordination committee.

The protests, however, turned violent after some youth snatched a teargas gun from two cops in a lane in the Nowhatta locality after beating them up, resulting in the police opening fire, injuring three persons, one of them critically.

The injured were immediately shifted to hospital for treatment.

This triggered violent clashes with a strong mob attacking the local police station with rocks.

Police and the Central Reserve Police ForceĀ had a tough time in controlling the situation, and in the process 14 policemen including a deputy commandant of the CRPF suffered injuries.

Police was responding by firing teargas shells and baton charging the mobs.

Barring this incident, the protests across the Valley remained peaceful with no report of any violence coming in on Friday.

Last Friday two persons were killed in police firing and two major towns of Baramulla and Shopian had to be clamped with curfew to control the volatile situation.

Massive protests were held in Baramulla, Shopian, Anantnag, Sopore, Ganderbal and other towns after the Friday prayers today.

A procession of lawyers started from the high court complex in Srinagar and went around the city centre Lal Chowk shouting slogans.

In the city centre, protests were also held outside the various mosques.

Pro-Independence Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik led a procession shouting pro-freedom slogans from the Maisuma locality near the city centre on Friday afternoon.

Shopkeepers in Srinagar and other towns downed their shutters in response to the coordination committee call.

Traffic also deserted the streets on Friday afternoon.

The coordination committee comprising representatives of various separatist groups, local traders and lawyers has called for a general strike on Saturday.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar