‘Composite Townships’: Pro-freedom leaders, students stage protest

Srinagar: Pro-freedom leaders and students on Friday staged protests against proposed “composite townships” for displaced Pandits in the Valley during which protesters and government forces clashed with each other leaving dozens injured.

According to GNS correspondent, scores of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) activists led by Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik assembled outside party headquarters in Maisuma here and started massive pro-freedom protests. Witnesses said the protesters were holding banners and placards on which anti-RSS slogans were inscribed.

The protesters started March towards Lal Chowk but the police and paramilitary CRPF men were additionally deployed at Budshah Chowk near Akhara building who had created human chain to stop the marchers.

As the protesters reached near the Akhara building, the government forces stopped their way and detained several JKLF leaders and activist along with Yasin Malik. They were bundled into police vehicles.

Despite police crackdown, the protesters tried to move ahead but police lobbed teargas shells and cane charged them ensuing intense clashes at Budshah Chowk, Maisuma, Koker Bazar.

Earlier, the JKLF chairman said the Kashmiris’ are not against the return of Pandit brothers but not according to RSS plan. He said we want them to live along with their Muslim brethren.

A police official told GNS that nearly a dozen people including cops’ sustained injuries during violent clashes which continued for several hours. However, sources said around two dozen people were hurt, mostly with minor injuries.

Witnesses said to control the situation, hundreds of police and CRPF men were deployed in the area.

Due to clashes, all the shops and commercial establishments were shut in the area while traffic also came to halt.

Several Kashmir Pandits also participated in the JKLF protest, a party spokesman told GNS.

Hurriyat Conference (G) leaders and activists took out a protest rally from Iqra Masjid Sarai Bala against proposed move. The protesters were detained by police at Hari Singh High Street but there was no violence.

A protest was also held at Jamia Masjid in downtown against government move. After the protest, minor stone-throwing clas
hes between youth and police at Gojwara.

Meanwhile, students at Kashmir University and Central University also held protests against the proposed move to establish “ghettos”.

Police Speaks

A police spokesman in a statement issued to GNS said that the situation remained normal across the valley. Some incidents of stone pelting were reported from Maisuma, Kawdara in Srinagar and Palhallan in Baramulla in which 08 policemen received injuries. (GNS)