At least 100 people, including 50 policemen, were injured in daylong protests here on Friday. The city observed a complete shutdown on the call given by the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani.
Mr. Geelani had called the strike as part of his district-wise agitation to press for the complete withdrawal of troops from Kashmir. Mr. Geelani, who was scheduled to address the people at Khanka-e-Mouala shrine in downtown, went into hiding to avoid arrest.
He, however, came to another nearby shrine of Naqashband Saheb, offered prayers and led a procession to Khankah. Thousands of people rallied behind him but police thwarted his entry into the shrine by bursting teargas shells. The octogenarian leader again gave the slip to the police.
Tension gripped the area for quiet some time and other areas of Rajouri Kadal, Bohri Kadal and Nowhatta erupted in pitched battles with the police. Batamaloo and Maisuma also witnessed stone-throwing. At Maisuma, the CRPF opened fire on protesters and one youth Ehsan was injured in the abdomen. His condition is critical.
SSP of Srinagar Javed Riyaz said more than 50 policemen were injured in the clashes. “We observed maximum restraint and bore the brunt of stone-pelting,” he said, adding that the situation was under control.
Business establishments, including shops, petrol pumps, banks, and schools and other educational institutions remained closed in the district.
Most of the government and semi-government offices remained closed in the civil lines area while government buses were off the roads.
Friday’s protest was the final phase in the first round of the strike by the amalgam against the “occupation of land by armed forces” in the State. Last Friday, there was complete shutdown in Bandipora district in north Kashmir where Mr. Geelani addressed a rally. The strike began on October 23 in Shopian district.