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Srinagar witnesses mob violence again

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
March 07, 2009 01:33 IST
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A youth was killed and 30 others were injured in post Friday prayer protests in the old city areas late this afternoon.Fierce clashes erupted soon after the worshippers were leaving the various mosques including the Jamia masjid in old city.

Hundreds of youth shouting pro-independence slogans clashed with the police and paramilitary, central reserve police force who responded by firing tear gas shells and repeated baton charges.

The protestors were demanding the release of jailed separatist leaders detained under the states Public Safety Act last year during the Amarnath land row agitation and state assembly polls.

As the situation in the Nowhatta locality turned violent, the CRPF troops allegedly opened fire at the protestorscritically injuring two youth, who were evacuated to hospital for treatment where one of them identified as 18-year-old Shahid Ahmad Ahangar succumbed to his injuries. The other youth identified as Shabir Ahmad Baba is battling for life in the Soura medical institute.

The clashes spread to almost the entire old city and continued till late this evening. Shopkeepers in the area downed their shutters and traffic deserted the streets after the Friday prayers as the protests erupted.

Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, senior separatist leader and chairman of the moderate, All Parties Hurriyat Conference had last week appealed the youth to avoid stone pelting, and instead asked them to hold peaceful protests.

Friday protests have become almost a regular feature in the old city, which often leads to violent clashes between the protestors and security forces.

"The situation is tense but under control. In all 30 persons including ten police and CRPF troopers were wounded ," said a senior police officer. He said more police and paramilitary reinforcements have been rushed to the area.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar