With no let-up in tension, authorities on Friday clamped curfew in Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir Valley to foil the “Eidgah march” called by separatist Hurriyat Conference. At least 60 people were injured in clashes as people tried to defy curfew at several places.
Apprehending more trouble, the authorities, for the first time in a week, imposed curfew on Srinagar and asked people to remain indoors.
Additional police and CRPF personnel were deployed. Prayers in central Jamia Masjid and other major mosques could not be offered on Friday due to restrictions enforced by the government. Kashmir's head priest Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other separatist leaders were put under house arrest. Police sealed all roads leading to the Eidgah as Hurriyat Conference (Geelani) asked people to reach there to register their protest against alleged human rights violations.
Processions taken out
Despite curfew slogan-shouting people took out processions in several places in Srinagar, Sopore, Baramulla, Handwara and Kupwara and clashed with police. At least 60 people, including several policemen, were injured in the clashes.
Two of them are stated to be critical in hospital. Abdur Rashid Paul, Additional Superintendent of Police, Kupwara, and guard of another police official of Handwara were among those injured. An attempt by a mob to attack the house of Lok Sabha MP Shariefuddin Shariq in Handwara was foiled by the police guards.
A senior police officer told The Hindu that the situation was under control though tension prevailed in most parts. “Our effort is to avoid civilian casualties despite provocations”.
People are facing difficulties on account of shortage of food and other essential items. “We are not able to go out. We do not have even milk for babies,” said a resident from Nowhatta in Srinagar downtown. Reports from Baramulla and Sopore also suggest that a crisis on this account was brewing.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, head of a faction of the Hurriyat Conference, expressed strong resentment over the continuing curfew and prevention of people going for Friday congregations in the major mosques of the valley.
‘Whenever Kashmiri people bring momentum in the peaceful struggle for their right to ‘self-determination,' the Government of India blames Pakistan and tries to misguide everyone, both at the national and international level,' the Mirwaiz said in a statement here.
The Mirwaiz also condemned the imposition of curfew for the past five days and the “continuous siege of the local population.”
He demanded the release of innocent teenagers, political prisoners and release of leaders from house arrest.
A Hurriyat spokesman criticised a Delhi-based news channel for its “deceptive and biased reporting regarding the Amarnath Yatra. Such media outlets in India are trying to give a communal bend to the ongoing peaceful protests.”