About 30 police and paramilitary personnel and 20 protesters sustained injuries in violent clashes at over 100 spots in the Kashmir Valley on Friday even as curfew was enforced in all 10 district headquarters and 20 townships in the State.
Junior Commissioned Officer of the Army Subedar Ashok Kumar Singh was hit in the head when a group attacked vehicles at Bijbehara on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway later in the night, official sources said, describing his condition as “very critical.” He was being rushed to hospital in Srinagar. Two tourists travelling from Jammu to Srinagar were also injured in the incident.
A police release claimed that as many as 77 police and CRPF personnel were injured in the day’s clashes.
Official sources said curfew would remain in force only in a few troubled areas on Saturday. There would be no restrictions on traffic.
Earlier, in downtown Baramulla, over 2,000 people at a Friday prayer assembly were telephonically addressed by separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has been placed under house arrest on his arrival from New Delhi on Thursday.
Mr. Geelani dismissed as eyewash the probe by the State government and the Army inquiry into the killing of a youth, Tahir Ahmad Sofi. He lauded the bereaved family for refusing the government’s ex gratia.
Sofi died allegedly in army firing at Kakkar Hamam in Baramulla town earlier this week. His death has added to the tension that has already gripped the Valley since the execution of Afzal Guru.
Inspector-General of Police (Kashmir) Shiv Murari Sahai told The Hindu that 700 police and armed forces personnel were injured in the clashes that occurred after the execution of Afzal Guru on February 9.