Community leaders rush to the affected areas to defuse the situation
SRINAGAR: Several people, including policemen, were injured in Srinagar on Sunday after the police swung into action to defuse sectarian clashes.
Though the Muharram processions ended peacefully, pitched battles between policemen and protesters continued throughout the day. The situation was tense in many areas.
Clashes broke out between members of the Shia and Sunni communities on Saturday after a Shia procession was taken out in Gojwara here, a predominantly Sunni area. A brawl broke out and both sides pelted stones at each other, injuring 15 people. Police personnel were deployed to prevent the situation from deteriorating.
Angry residents of Gojwara and Nowhatta, where the Jamia Masjid is located, marched towards the nearby Shia areas of Alamgari Bazar and Zadibal. But the police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel prevented them from going ahead.
This resulted in clashes between the security personnel and the protesters. Stone pelting, lathi charge and bursting of tear smoke shells continued through the day.
Senior Superintendent of Police (Srinagar) Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba camped in the area to ensure that the situation was under control.
Deputy Inspector General (Srinagar range) Abdus Subhan Lone said 16 police personnel, five mediapersons and four civilians had received injuries.
However, unofficial sources put the number of injured at 50.
Several separatist leaders rushed to the affected areas to defuse the situation.
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik has been camping in the area since Saturday. “I am here to resolve the misunderstanding between two sides,” he said, adding that Kashmir had no history of such clashes. He urged both the communities to maintain calm.
Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah also visited the area.