Around a dozen policemen and stone-pelters sustained injuries in a few clashes as curfew remained in force in parts of the capital city and several other townships in Kashmir Valley on Friday.
Radical separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s call for protest demonstrations and shutdown after the congregational Friday prayers at the community mosques prompted the authorities to impose curfew. It remained in force in the areas under the jurisdiction of 11 police stations in Srinagar. Curfew was also in force in nine rural district headquarters and about a dozen major townships.
Prior to the curfew on Friday, Mr. Geelani’s call for shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday evoked a lukewarm response as the Valley was by and large peaceful and no significant clash took place.
Staying in New Delhi since December last, Mr. Geelani had asked the Kashmiris to observe complete shutdown on Wednesday and Thursday and organise demonstrations after the Friday prayers at all mosques. He, as also all the mainstream and separatist leaders in the State, excluding those of the Congress party, have been demanding the return of Afzal Guru’s mortal remains for a burial in the Valley. Guru was hanged to death and buried at Tihar Jail on February 9. His execution witnessed a week of continued protests, shutdown and curfew in Kashmir.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, Shiv Murari Sahai, told The Hindu that no major confrontation or violation of curfew took place anywhere in the Valley on Friday. He said that some policemen and demonstrators were reported injured in a couple of “insignificant clashes” at Trehgam in Kupwara district and Nayidkhai in Bandipore district. Mr. Sahai said there were “routine restrictions” in force in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of 13 police stations in Srinagar and other townships across the Valley. Police checked vehicles and frisked pedestrians but did not freeze movement of the traffic.
The IGP said the curfew had been lifted from all areas on Friday evening and there would be no curfew for the next two days.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, South Kashmir, Vijay Kumar said that a group of residents resorted to stone-pelting on a police camp at Redwani in Kulgam area. Police and paramilitary forces forced the crowds to disperse. However, bigger mob of nearly 2,000 people engaged the police and the paramilitary forces in the clash. Three policemen and four demonstrators, including a woman, were injured. She was rushed to Srinagar and admitted to SKIMS.